It is not news that minerals are important for the optimum functioning of the body. There are certain essential minerals
, which help regulate metabolism, water balance and bone health.
Minerals are not found in body and should be obtained from the food we eat.
Some of the foods that contain minerals are: Milk and Dairy Products
Milk and dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese and cottage cheese are very good sources of calcium, phosphorus and zinc. Magnesium can also be obtained from milk. Dairy products are the best food for minerals such as phosphorus. Eggs are a good source of selenium. Fruits and Vegetables
Broccoli contains calcium and potassium. Dark green, leafy vegetables are rich sources of calcium
iron, magnesium and potassium. Raisins are also iron rich foods. Nuts and seeds, potatoes, beans, and avocadoes are rich in magnesium content. Potato with skin, citrus fruits and dried fruits are good source of potassium. Bananas are rich source of magnesium, potassium, manganese and copper. Nuts are also good source of zinc. Sweet potatoes are claimed to have highest amount of potassium content. Summer squash or zucchini is a vegetable which is rich in copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Sea vegetables such as brown algae, kombu/kelp, wakame and arame are rich in iodine content and also contain other minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc and manganese. Meat
Meats, pork, fish and shellfish, poultry are foods rich in iron. Phosphorous is obtained from meat and fish. Red meat, poultry, oysters and other sea foods are found to be rich source of zincWhole Grains and Legumes
Lentils and beans are rich in iron content. Some flours, cereals and grain products are also foods that are fortified in iron. Whole grains and whole grain breads have good amount of magnesium and selenium content. Legumes such as peas and lima beans are a great source of potassium. Dried beans and whole grain have good zinc content. Legumes contain high level of potassium, iron and magnesium. Rice is a good source of magnesium
potassium, phosphorous and zinc. Fortified Foods and Cereals
Soy foods are good sources of calcium and iron.
Foods fortified with calcium such as orange juice and soy milk are also good sources of calcium. Fortified breakfast cereals also have zinc in them. Oatmeal is rich in phosphorous, potassium and iron.
Health Benefits of Essential Minerals
Essential minerals are important for proper functioning of the body including boron, calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, iodine, phosphorus, manganese, copper, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium and zinc. The health benefits of minerals are;
- Boron plays a role in maintaining bone health, brain function, acts as an anti-aging agent and improves sexual health. It also prevents cancer, reduces muscle pain and can cure Alzheimer’s disease
- Calcium is an essential mineral which is required for optimum health of bones. It is useful in preventing osteoporosis, alleviating symptoms of arthritis, insomnia, menopause, premenstrual syndrome and cramps. It can also be used in prevention of obesity, colon cancer, acidity, heart ailments, and high blood pressure and in improving dental health.
- Chromium is required in trace amounts and is essential for the uptake of sugar in the body. It stimulates the formation of fatty acids and cholesterol in the body.
- Iron is significant factor involved in hemoglobin formation, metabolism, muscle activity, brain function and immunity. It also plays a role in anemia, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and regulation of body temperature. Deficiency of iron is seen as muscle weakness, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems and poor function of cognitive abilities.
- Magnesium is helpful in the treatment of high blood pressure, heart attack, cramps, diabetes, alcoholism, menopause and asthma. It is needed to maintain bone health and essential in pregnancy. There is a proven association between magnesium and reduction of anxiety and stress. It releases chemicals in body which produce calming effect and induce sleep.
- Iodine plays a key role in alleviating goitre, fibrocystic breast disease, skin problems, cancer. It is an essential mineral in promoting the quality of hair, metabolism and healthy pregnancy.
- Phosphorus is a key factor in reducing muscle weakness, improves bone health, enhances brain function, rectifies sexual problems, regular metabolism and promotes dental health.
- Manganese is one of the essential minerals playing an effective role in managing metabolism, osteoporosis reduce fatigue, reproduction, sprains, inflammation, brain function and epilepsy.
- Copper improves the absorption of iron in the body and helps in improving brain function, relaxing arthritis, promoting healthy skin, alleviating throat infections, curing hemoglobin deficiency, preventing heart problems and enhancing immunity.
- Potassium is beneficial in regulating low blood sugar levels, blood pressure, preventing heart diseases, enhancing the circulation of water in the body, eliminating symptoms associated with muscle disorders and cramps, enhances the functioning of the brain, manages diabetes, rectifies kidney problems and also manage arthritic symptoms.
- Selenium is a rare mineral which is one of the most powerful antioxidants and hence has a protective effect.
- Silicon plays an important role in improving and enhancing healthy bones, skin, hair and nails, treats sleep disorders, atherosclerosis and tuberculosis. It is also good for the tissue development, and healthy teeth.
- Sodium is very well known for its function of maintaining water balance, preventing sunstroke, improving the functioning of brain, relieving muscular cramps and acts as an anti-aging agent for premature aging.
- Zinc is good for optimizing health of the skin. It takes care of eczema acne, wounds, cold, weight loss, pregnancy, hair, eyes, and associated problems.