One solution to improving your health is by consuming mineral- and nutrient-rich foods. Minerals and vitamins are an important part of maintaining health and wellness.
A woman’s body experiences multiple changes throughout her life, and also on a monthly basis. These changes can be hormonal, mental, and physical. This causes the need for specific nutrients. A woman who is breastfeeding or is menopausal will require different minerals and nutrients than a teenager. Some may have a sufficient amount of nutrients in their bodies already but others may require a supplement.
It’s important for women to get the correct amount of minerals and vitamins to maintain their health.
Essential nutrients and minerals are found in different kinds of animal and plant-based foods. Some macro minerals are needed in larger amounts than others. These include sulfur, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and calcium. Minerals needed in smaller amounts are called trace minerals such as boron, cobalt, iodine, copper, manganese, selenium, zinc, and iron.
Both kinds of minerals are needed to support a variety of functions in the body. They range from keeping your heart, brain, and muscles functioning to maintaining healthy teeth and bones. Minerals are essential for helping our bodies make energy and they fuel our metabolism.
The human body doesn’t produce minerals on its own. A mineral is a molecule that is an inorganic crystalline solid that occurs in nature. Even rocks and stones are aggregates of organic materials and minerals. Other than the teeth and bones, the molecules and atoms that are part of a healthy body are not solid or crystalline. So most of the molecules that are in the human body don’t meet the definition of a mineral. This is why it is so important that we receive the proper amounts of minerals from the foods we eat. Although some minerals are recycled and reused by the body, other minerals need to be continuously replenished through mineral-rich foods.
Not surprisingly, calcium is the mineral that is found in the highest quantities in the body. This makes sense when you think about it as our bones require significant amounts of this mineral. Next to calcium, phosphorus is the second largest quantity of mineral in the body, again thanks to its composition in bones and teeth.
It’s important to understand how minerals affect our bodies and what benefits they have for our wellness.
Copper helps clean up free radicals, regulates neurotransmitters, metabolizes food, and assists with the formation of red blood cells.
Zinc helps with cell division and wound repair, the creation of proteins and DNA, and strengthens the immune system.
Calcium helps build teeth and bones, keeps the heart, muscles and nerves functioning properly, and regulates the body’s blood pressure.
Sodium helps regulate nerve impulses and balances fluids in the body. It also fuels our adrenals, and along with potassium, allows our bodies to properly respond to stress.
Iron helps to make myoglobin (muscle cell proteins) and hemoglobin (an oxygen-carrying chemical for red blood cells). It also activates hormones, neurotransmitters, and amino acids.
Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, helps with blood clotting, and also builds teeth and bone. Magnesium also helps our bodies respond to stress properly and is the first mineral used up during the stress response.
Manganese helps metabolize carbohydrates, cholesterol, and amino acids.
Chromium helps convert blood sugar into energy and maintains blood sugar levels in the body.
Molybdenum prevents the build-up of harmful sulfides and activates enzymes that break down toxins.
Potassium assists with muscle contractions, and balances fluids to maintain a steady heartbeat and blood pressure. Potassium also helps support the use of thyroid hormone, helps with thyroid function, and assists the body in handling stress.
But what sorts of foods are these minerals found in? Eating a balanced diet on a daily basis will ensure that the necessary amount is being consumed. Here is a list of foods and their mineral components.
Minerals are important to your overall physical and mental health. Many people don’t get enough minerals in their diet. But it’s easy to increase mineral intake by simply consuming healthier, whole foods like those listed above on a regular basis. Adding all or even some of the foods listed here will not only increase your mineral intake but may help improve your health and wellness.