Essential minerals and health

Essential minerals and health

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Essential minerals and health

Essential minerals are crucial to maintain good health. It classifies into two equally important groups. They are major and trace minerals. Our body uses and stores major minerals in large quantities. These are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulphur. While gold, silver and platinum gets all the attention as most precious metals, they are important for global economy. Metals are one type of mineral. There are other metals and minerals that are equally important. They are critical for our well-being. In fact, some of them are so important that we may not survive without them.

The trace minerals are just as important for our health as the major minerals. However, we may not need them in large quantities. Minerals in this category are chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc.

Body functions

Each one of these minerals play a role is many body functions. It may be in minute amounts of a particular mineral. Nevertheless, it plays the key role. However, it is important to maintain a proper balance of these minerals. So, if there is too much or too less may create a delicate imbalance in the body.

Our body does not make essential minerals. Hence, we get this from our food intake. It is a better option than to consume supplements. So, this is one of the reasons that a well-balanced diet plan is important. These minerals come from rocks, soil, and water. Plants absorb these as they grow. Thus far, animals absorb minerals as they eat plants. While fresh foods are best source of dietary minerals, nowadays processed foods are fortified with minerals. Fortified foods may be milk, breakfast cereal, or eggs. Furthermore, drugstores have endless options of supplements

Easy sources

When you eat a healthy diet like a variety of vegetables, beans, fruits and whole grains you are like to consume all healthy minerals. It helps to include dairy foods, lean protein and unsaturated fats. Example of unsaturated fats are olive oil, avocado and nuts. So, if your daily dietary intake include a variety of foods mineral intake is adequate. It is reasonably easy to meet daily requirements in our diet.

Human body requires many minerals to activate enzymes. So far, these metals have plenty of other essential roles too. It may sound complex. However, mineral requirements are minute. For example, adequate intake of manganese is 1.8 milligrams (mg) per day for women and 2.3 mg per day for men. So, half a cup of cooked spinach (0.84 mg manganese), and half a cup of cooked brown rice (1.07 mg manganese). In fact, same is true for many dietary minerals.


Perhaps the complex situation is that some minerals are harder to find in correct quantities. A typical example is that calcium deficiency is common in older adults. Particularly in women and in people who don’t eat enough dairy products. So, calcium deficiency in the body increases the risk for brittle bones and fractures. Similarly, women can become deficient in iron due to menstrual cycle. Another cause of iron deficiency is less known. It is obese people. Particularly, premenopausal women, have a high risk for iron deficiency.

Severe obesity associates with low level inflammation. Thus, it reduces iron absorption and its use by the body. Therefore, low iron levels can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia. So, in this condition, there are inadequate blood cells. It then makes it more difficult for blood to carry oxygen to organs.

Magnesium and potassium

Certain drugs like diuretics to manage blood pressure, cause the body to excrete magnesium in urine. Thus far, magnesium is normally lacking in people with diseases that cause diarrhea. Most older adults take only 50 to 75 percent of the potassium they require. So, a low-potassium, high-sodium diet contributes to high blood pressure.

In such cases, it becomes a high-risk category. There needs to be a concerted effort to consume enough healthy minerals. It is important to follow recommendations on dietary mineral intake targets.