Vital Minerals

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Since a young age, we have been told that minerals are good for you, but do the majority of us actually know why? Below is a breakdown of the most vital minerals and their function in the human body.

  • Calcium

    It is widely known that calcium is needed to maintain strong teeth and bones. What you may not know is that calcium also aids in transporting nutrients around the body. This means that it helps to lower the risk of colon cancer, kidney stones and helps to balance alkaline levels as well as protecting cardiac muscles. Good sources of calcium, other than dairy products,are tofu, soya beans, nuts, fish eaten with bones (eg sardines) and leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and okra.

  • Chromium

    Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of this particular mineral before, it is the least well known of all the minerals featured in this article, however it is no less important! Small amounts of chromium have a great benefit on our metabolic system. The metabolic system regulates blood sugar and helps insulin to transport glucose into the cells. Chromium was not considered a vital mineral until it was found that chromium deficiency caused abnormal glucose activity and insulin resistance. It was easily rectified with chromium supplements. However chromium deficiency is rare as you only need a very minimal amount of chromium to maintain metabolic functioning. Chromium can be found in broccoli, meat, lentils and spices.

  • Iron

    A lack of iron is known to cause anemia but it can also cause lowered immune function and poor body temperature regulation as well as impaired cognitive functions. Your daily diet should be able to provide you with a sufficient amount of iron however women with heavy periods are at risk of iron deficiency anemia and may need to take additional iron supplements to maintain a healthy level of iron. Iron can be found in meat, nuts, dried fruit and whole grains.

  • Magnesium

    Other than making a beautiful spark when ignited, magnesium also helps to maintain muscle and nerve function. It promotes normal blood pressure and is heavily involved with energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Food that contain magnesium are fish, brown rice, dairy foods and nuts.

  • Potassium

    The benefits of potassium in a diet is the lowered risk of a stroke, high blood pressure and disorders regarding the heart and kidney. Potassium  also helps to maintain water balance and enhance muscle strength. Potassium can be found in avocado, shellfish, turkey, chicken and vegetables such as parsnips and broccoli.

  • Sodium

    In recent years sodium has developed a rather bad reputation within the health world as it is a major component in salt. In excess, salt is harmful to the body, for example it can increase blood pressure,  high blood pressure is a major cause for heart attacks and strokes. However, when consumed in appropriate amounts, , sodium can help to improve heart performance, glucose absorption and the nervous system. Sodium can be found in low levels in most foods but it is added into almost all processed foods. A well balanced diet should provide you with the suitable amount of sodium needed daily.

There are many other many other minerals needed in the body but these are a few of the main ones. To find out more about other minerals please click here.

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