Just as your body needs vitamins, minerals are also essential to maintain health. Often times we confuse minerals with rock and crystals but there are minerals that the body needs to consume. These minerals are divided into Macro minerals and trace minerals.
Let’s begin with macro minerals.
Macro minerals are required in large amounts to support all of the biochemical processes in the body. They are required for the formation and maintenance of cells and tissues such as bones and teeth and play a vital role in the proper functioning of the cardiovascular and nervous systems Macro minerals are mainly responsible for regulating the flow of water in the body. They are usually ingested in dosages exceeding 100 mgs per day. You have more than likely consumed these minerals without considering them to be minerals. These types of macro minerals include:
Calcium required in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones, teeth and gums. It is essential for proper functioning of the cardiovascular and nervous systems and helps to stabilize bodily functions and is necessary for blood clotting.
Sources for calcium include: milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, shellfish and salmon.
Magnesium assists in formation of bones, teeth, muscles, tissues and nerves. Assists in the absorption of calcium and potassium. It is needed in the relaxation of muscle tissue, muscle development of cardiac tissue and regulating blood pressure.
Sources for magnesium include: whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, green leafy vegetables, and oatmeal.
Phosphorus assists in the formation of bones and teeth. It helps the formation of cellular membranes and the metabolism of carbs and fats. Phosphorus aids in the functioning of the kidneys and cardiac muscle contractions.
Sources for phosphorus include: milk, fish, eggs, corn, nuts, peas, poultry, meat and bran.
Often times you will see athletes resort to drinking Gatorade as opposed to water. This is because they are trying to replenish the electrolytes that are lost whenever we perform rigorous activity. Electrolytes help regulate and balance the flow of electrical activity in the cells and tissues and the flow of water between the cells and the bloodstream. There are four types of electrolytes:
- Chloride: essential in controlling fluid loss and retention. Assists in the digestive system in the formation of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Sources for chloride include: table salt, tomatoes, celery, seaweed, olives and processed foods
- Potassium: required for all cellular activity. Vital for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, cardiac tissue contraction, kidney function.
Sources for potassium include: oranges, bananas, dairy products, meat, poultry and non-skinned potatoes
- Sodium: helps the body maintain healthy body fluid levels. Same as potassium is vital for cellular activity and vital for muscle contraction. It also aids in the digestive system.
Sources for sodium include: table salt, sports drinks, cheese, ham, smoked meats, canned soups and processed meats.
- Sulfur: helps to purify blood, gives the body resistance to bacteria and protects the protoplasm of cells. Helps to stimulate bile secretions in the liver and protects the body against toxic substances. It also slows the aging process.
Sources for sulfur include: Brussels sprouts, dried beans, eggs, cabbage, kale, meats, onions, soybeans, turnips, and wheat germ
Keep in mind, any form of vitamins and minerals consumed in large doses can be damaging to the body.
For more on micro minerals click here.