Functions of minerals in the body – Your body requires many important substances in order to function effectively. Some of these substances provide fuel to drive the energy production mechanism of your metabolism. This food as a fuel component is comprised of macronutrients.
Carbs, fats, and proteins, which form the bulk of the physical mass of the food you consume, provide fuel and raw materials for energy transfer.
On the other hand, you have micronutrients, inorganic compounds that are needed in trace quantities. These substances are essential drivers of the various life functions of minerals in the body. Because there are so many of them, and they are required in such small quantities, it’s hard to keep tabs on your intake and meeting your requirements.
Micronutrients are categorized into two basic groups, vitamins, and minerals. In this article, we’re going to give you a complete functions of minerals in the body and list of all 16 essential minerals and where you can get them. Before we do that, let’s delve into exactly what essential minerals are.
What Are Essential Minerals?
Essential minerals are inorganic earth elements that provide vital functional or structural benefits to the human body. Some such as the mineral salts provide stability for fluid balance as well as maintaining a healthy electrical balance.
Others such as iron are essential in transport and energy transfers. Calcium is a structural mineral, for example. All 16 essential minerals are required and can only be obtained through a diet containing them. But what happens when you don’t get enough of each?
What Happens When You Are Deficient?
Mineral deficiencies can result in many different negative health conditions. It all depends on which mineral is deficient since they all have such different roles.
A common symptom of deficiency of almost all minerals is fatigue, a decline in performance, inflammation and a decrease in the immune response. In order to avoid this, it’s important you learn about each of functions of minerals in the body needs and how you can get them, which is exactly what this article is about.
16 Functions Of Minerals In The Body and How To Get Them
Calcium has two major roles in the body. The first one is a structural role. Calcium is a major component of hard tissue such as bones and teeth and is therefore required in their maintenance.
The second one is a biochemical role. Calcium is a mineral salt or electrolyte, providing support in maintaining fluid balance and a healthy electrical balance for muscular contractions. Calcium can be obtained from green leafy vegetables as well as dairy products.
Another electrolyte, chloride helps maintain fluid balance. It is also essential in controlling your body’s pH level as well as blood pressure, making it healthy for your heart
Olives, tomatoes, celery, and lettuce are a few foods with an abundance of chloride.
Chromium is an important mineral in the metabolism of macronutrients (fats, carbs, and proteins). It is also important in maintaining insulin sensitivity. Chromium can be obtained from beef, poultry, whole grains, and some green vegetables.
Copper is a trace element that collaborates with iron in oxygen transport. It’s also a great antioxidant and is important for the maintenance of nerve health and immune response.
You can get copper from meat, especially organ meats as well as some shellfish such as oysters.
Fluoride, like calcium, is another important component of bones and teeth. You’ll often find it as part of toothpaste formulations, but it’s best to get it through your diet. You can do this through foods such as mineral water and some fish.
Iodine is vital for healthy thyroid function, and thyroid function is essential for the proper functioning of your metabolism.
Iodine deficiency is rare since most commercially produced table salt is fortified with it.
Iron is the main mineral responsible for the oxygen transport properties of hemoglobin, the protein found in your red blood cells.
Iron is abundant in red meat and organ meats such as liver and kidneys.
Magnesium is another electrolyte responsible for intercellular fluid balance. It's also a great energy booster, which is why it is so common as a sports supplement.
Magnesium can be sourced from leafy green vegetables, seafood such as salmon, nuts, and seeds.
It is essential in the metabolism of amino acids. It is also useful for bone health, blood clotting and is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Dark chocolate, fruits such as acai and pineapple and some leafy green vegetables are known sources of manganese.
This cleanup molecule is a vital detoxifying agent that helps remove metabolic waste from the metabolism of sulfur-based amino acids. You can source molybdenum from legumes, organ meats, cheese, and leafy greens.
Phosphorus is important in the formation of bones and teeth. It also plays a role in fat and carb metabolism as well as protein synthesis.
Fish, meat, poultry, legumes, and nuts are your go-to phosphorus sources.
Potassium is yet another electrolyte, helping control the fluid and electrical balance of the body. Potassium is abundant in foods such as bananas and avocados.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and is important in the maintenance of a healthy immune system as well as thyroid function. Selenium can be found in brazil nuts, halibut, tuna, and oysters.
Sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in the body. It is a component of methionine and cysteine, two very important amino acids responsible for protein synthesis. For this reason, sulfur is a constituent in many structures such as hair and nails. Sulfur is commonly sourced from a diet containing meats, organ meats, and eggs.
Zinc is an essential mineral and is vital to the immune system. Aside from this, zinc is also significant in healthy cell division and growth which is useful for tissue growth, repair and wound healing. Zinc is abundant in dairy, eggs, meat, and shellfish.
There you have it, all 16 essential minerals and how they contribute to the healthy balance of your body. If you are unsure that you’re hitting your essential mineral goals, best consult a doctor and get your levels checked.
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