A healthy outside starts from the inside.
– Robert Urich
Vitamins usually get all the fame and glory, however, minerals are just as important for the proper functioning of our cells. Considering we cannot naturally produce them in the body such as with certain vitamins, it’s essential that we eat a varied and balanced diet in order to obtain enough of them. Minerals are major players in all aspects of our health and wellbeing, but luckily, a little goes a long way.
Dietary minerals are extremely useful substances. They help the body use and absorb other nutrients as well as keep our appearance in optimal condition by helping clear up skin issues such as acne. A lot of people have caught on to the important role of minerals within the body and like to take them as pills or powder. Sometimes, there’s good reason for this, but mostly, it’s unnecessary and could actually cause more harm than good. Getting too much of any mineral is not ideal, it will create a lot of undesired symptoms and can even be deadly. If you’re thinking of taking over-the-counter minerals for whatever reason, consult with your doctor first.
The best mineral form is naturally occurring
Contrary to popular belief, taking vitamin/mineral supplements is not actually so great for our health. Unless there is an underlying issue in the body which has been diagnosed by a doctor, there is no good reason we should be taking them. If you want to keep healthy, eat healthy. Avoid downing unnecessary amounts of processed nutrients into digestive systems which are designed to extract the nutrients naturally from foods. This unnatural ingestion of even the most essential nutrients can cause a whole host of absorption issues in the long-term, as well as being a waste of money.
10 minerals and why we need them
Needed for: Nerve transmission, muscle contraction and proper fluid balance
Found in: Table salt, processed foods, unprocessed foods, small amounts in dairy, pretty much small amounts in most foods. It is not often someone will be low in sodium unless they become dehydrated or are following a strict diet. Usually people ingest far more than the recommended amount of sodium per day.
Needed for: Production of stomach acid and proper fluid balance
Found in: See Sodium ^
Needed for: Maintaining healthy bones and teeth, keeping muscles in a good functioning state, aiding nerve function, helping blood to clot, regulating blood pressure and maintaining a healthy immune system
Found in: Dairy product, fish bones, broccoli, legumes
Needed for: Making protein, nerve transmission, muscle contraction, maintaining a healthy immune system.
Found in: Leafy green vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, artichokes, mineral water.
Needed for: Forming connective tissue, bones, blood clotting and sex hormones. Absorption of calcium, regulation of blood sugar and normal brain and nerve function. Plays a role in metabolising fat and carbohydrates.
Found in: Nuts, herbs & spices (cloves, saffron, chili powder..), dark chocolate, roasted pumpkin seeds, rice bran, oat bran, flax seeds, sesame seeds
Needed for: Catalysing enzymes
Found in: Grains, leafy greens, green vegetables, milk, liver, legumes
Needed for: Nerve transmission, fluid balance and muscle contraction
Found in: Whole grains, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and meats
Needed for: Creating protein and genetic material, normal foetal development, sperm production, immune system functioning, normal growth, sexual maturation and even taste perception.
Found in: Meats, whole grains, vegetables, nuts
Needed for: Maintaining acid-base balance, healthy bones and teeth. Present in every cell.
Found in: Meats, dairy products, eggs, processed foods
Needed for: Successful transportation of oxygen in the body and energy metabolism
Found in: Meats, egg yolks, dried fruits, dark, leafy greens, legumes, molasses, brown rice
The above mixture of major and micro minerals are all essential for the proper functioning of our cells. Whether it be brain cells, bone cells, muscle cells or skin cells, there’s a mineral which is responsible for it’s health and safety.
As you may have concluded, all it requires is a healthy, balanced diet. Those food pyramids you see everywhere take all of this into account. So if you’re not sure what you should be eating, just take a gander at one of them. Quite simply, all you need to be doing in order to get all the minerals you need, is try to eat the most varied and healthiest diet that you can. Nothing more, nothing less.
As the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, so wisely said back in 431 BC “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Become a Nutritional Therapist
At the School of Natural Health Sciences you can study to gain an internationally accredited diploma in Nutrition. We offer 3 foundation courses in nutrition: