The importance of dietary minerals
Dietary minerals benefits
The dietary mineral supplement or supplement minerals or minerals health or dietary minerals which ever way you call them, they play a vital role in maintaining our body’s health.
Though Vitamins and minerals are both needed in adequate quantities for healthy living,minerals do not get the attention they deserve.Minerals are inorganic substances meaning non-living substances available in soil.Plants extract these minerals from soil.
Animals eat plants to obtain these much needed minerals and humans eat both plants and animals to get minerals.The body’s requirement of minerals vary according to age,gender and situations such as pregnancy,lactation and menopause.Some minerals are needed more than others.
1.Minerals keep blood and tissue fluids balanced,not too acidic or too alkaline.
2.Minerals help our bodies in water retention as our bodies are mostly made up of water.
3.Minerals help glands in maintaining optimum hormone production.
4.Minerals are necessary for our metabolism’s day to day functions without which it would become dysfunctional.
The are many <strong> dietary Minerals </strong> essential for health.The main ones are mentioned below and there is every likelihood that new ones will be found in the near future by research.
This is one of the vital minerals needed for the optimum function of blood.In blood it is present as hemoglobin that carries oxygen from lungs to all cells and takes back from cells the waste product carbon dioxide for exhalation.Iron requirement varies from person to person according to rate of growth,situations like pregnancy,menstrual periods,lactation and blood loss.Iron is lost due to nail and hair growth and excretion.
Foods rich in iron are green leafy vegetables,whole grains,cereals,eggs,liver,meat,spinach ,grapes and dates.
Iron deficiency leads to anaemia resulting in feeling weak and tired all the time.
Overdose of iron supplements might lead to iron poisoning,hence due care should be taken to avoid excess consumption.
This is the most important mineral found in all tissues and is needed for healthy growth but most deficient in our diet.Even if the diet is rich in calcium,our body is unable to digest it as it occurs in chemical forms that cannot be absorbed.So most of the calcium is excreted as waste.The part played by calcium in our health is that it
a)helps in the digestive process by stimulating the digestive enzymes.
b)helps voluntary muscles in contractions for limb movement.
c)helps in building strong bones and teeth.
d)helps in nervous system maintenance.
e)helps in heart beat regulation.
f)helps in fighting the disease osteoporosis.
g)helps as anti-aging agent.
h)helps cure muscle twitching,spasms.
Foods high in calcium are green leafy vegetables,carrots,cabbage,milk,yogurt,cheese and ice cream.
Excessive calcium is harmful to health as it may lead to stone formation and tissue hardening.Never take calcium supplements without your doctor’s advice.
When buying calcium supplements look for the base substance from which it is made.
If the supplement is made from oyster shell it considered safe but if it is bone meal or dolomite it may be toxic due to lead contamination.
Phosphorus characteristics are that it
a)acts in conjunction with calcium to build bones and teeth.
b)is essential for smooth muscular activity.
c)acts to stimulate brain and nerve cells.
Foods rich in phosphorus are pulses,cereals,milk,egg and fruit juices.
It is the combination of two minerals namely sodium and chlorine and it is also called table salt.It’s functions are as follows.
a)Sodium is a constituent of saliva,gastric juices and intestinal fluids and helps in the
b)Sodium has the tendency to increase blood pressure and so useful in treating low blood pressure but harmful to high blood pressure patients.
c)Chlorine is vital to the digestive process since it is a constituent of hydrochloric acid
in the stomach that digests the food.
d)Chlorine helps in body fluid balance.
Foods rich in sodium are milk,yogurt,cheese,whole grains and spinach.
Sodium deficiency may impair hearing.
Excess sodium consumption may lead to high blood pressure and may cause body water
Retention hence moderation is the key.
Foods rich in chlorine are egg yolk,coconut,milk products,green leafy vegetables,raddish,lentils and rice.
The functions of this essential mineral are that it
a)helps in male virility.
b)is vital for healthy hair and skin.
c)plays a role in healing wounds.
d)is essential for body growth as it is part of enzymes that control major metabolic activities.
Foods rich in zinc are whole grains,milk,meat,eggs,sea food,liver,cereals and nuts.
It is vital for transmission of nerve impulses.
Foods rich in magnesium are green leafy vegetables,whole grains and nuts.
Magnesium deficiency symptoms are appetite loss and vomiting.
Potassium helps in
a)transmission of nerve impulses.
b)water retention in cells.
c)proper working of all muscles including heart.
Both low and excess amounts of potassium is harmful affecting cardiovascular functions and may prove fatal hence supplements should not be taken without doctor’s advice.
This mineral is important for
a)the production of hormone thyroxin by the thyroid gland for regulating rate of metabolism that controls all physical and mental functions.
b)preventing wrinkles in skin.
c)the thyroid gland function.
Foods rich in iodine are all sea foods,egg yolk,pineapple,citrus fruits,turnip and garlic.
Iodine deficiency causes the swelling of thyroid gland and this condition is called goiter.
This can be prevented by using iodized table salt.
This mineral is present in almost all cells of the body.It is a constituent of amino acids
cystine and methionine.Not much is known about this mineral as the information on this mineral is limited except that it is important for the body functions.
Selenium is known to fight chemically induced cancer and only a trace amount is necessary.
This is important for the formation strong teeth and it is available in ground water.
Fluorine is toxic in large quantities.
This is needed for the metabolism of blood sugar.
Foods rich in chromium are whole grains,eggs,cheese,meats and yeast.
This trace mineral is useful in maintaining blood sugar levels healthy.
Foods rich in vanadium are lobster,cereals,whole grains,vegetable oils,radishes,potatoes and green leafy vegetables.
It is advisable to consume many different foods so that we can have adequate quantities from a variety of sources.
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