Our bodies require a variety of nutrients to function properly, including carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. While all of these nutrients are important, minerals play a particularly vital role in keeping our bodies healthy and functioning properly.
What are Minerals?
Minerals are inorganic substances essential for human health. Unlike vitamins, minerals cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained through food or supplements. Minerals are required in small amounts, but they play a critical role in many bodily functions, from building strong bones and teeth to maintaining a healthy heart and nervous system.
Types of Minerals
There are two types of minerals: macro-minerals and trace minerals. Macro-minerals are needed in larger amounts and include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. Trace minerals are required in smaller amounts and include iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium, and fluoride.
Why Does Your Body Need Minerals?
Minerals play a crucial role in many bodily functions, including:
Bone and Teeth Health: Calcium and phosphorus are two essential minerals for building strong bones and teeth. These minerals help to keep bones strong and prevent osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle.
Muscle Function: Potassium and magnesium are critical for proper muscle function. Potassium helps to regulate the heartbeat, while magnesium helps to relax muscles.
Nervous System Health: Calcium, magnesium, and sodium are all important for maintaining a healthy nervous system. Calcium helps to transmit nerve impulses, while magnesium helps to relax nerves. Sodium helps to regulate the balance of fluids in the body and is also important for transmitting nerve impulses.
Immune System Function: Zinc and selenium are important for immune system function. Zinc helps to regulate the immune response, while selenium helps protect cells from damage.
Energy Production: Iron is a critical mineral for energy production. Iron helps to transport oxygen to cells, which is essential for energy production.
How to Get Enough Minerals
To ensure that you get enough minerals, it’s important to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Good sources of minerals include:
- Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, and cheese are all good sources of calcium.
- Leafy green vegetables: Kale, spinach, and broccoli are all good sources of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
- Whole grains: Whole grains, such as brown rice and whole wheat bread, are good sources of magnesium and phosphorus.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, and sesame seeds are all good sources of magnesium, while pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc.
- Meat and seafood: Beef, pork, and chicken are all good sources of phosphorus and selenium, while seafood, such as oysters and shrimp, are good sources of zinc.
Minerals are essential for human health and play a critical role in many bodily functions. To ensure you get enough minerals, it’s important to eat a balanced diet which includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods. By getting enough minerals, you can help to keep your body healthy and functioning properly. The importance of vitamins and minerals is covered in the HLS core class. Click here to find out when the next class is being held.