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Importance of Minerals

Updated on August 23, 2016

Minerals are more important in human nutrition than vitamins (Dr. Henry Schroeder). The body can manufacture many vitamins, but it cannot produce trace minerals.

Besides the four main elements we need for life (Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen), we require dietary minerals in certain quantities to have good health.

Trace minerals are also essential to proper metabolic functioning in all phases of the life process.

Essential Dietary Minerals

  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Sulfur
  • Chlorine

Trace elements (small amounts, but needed)

  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Cobalt
  • Selenium
  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Molybdenum
  • Iodine

Essential Minerals

Sodium is a systemic electrolyte essential for energy transfer in the body.

Where can you get it from?

When you have exercised hard, you can regain some energy from drinking sports drinks that have sodium. Table salt, sea vegetables, milk and spinach contain sodium.

Magnesium

Magnesium helps the nerves and muscles function, steadies the rhythm of the heart, and keeps bones strong. It also helps the body to create energy and make proteins.

Where can you get it from?

Chocolate (yeah!), whole grains, whole-grain breads, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, beans, avacados, bananas, and milk. Male teens need 410 mg of magnesium a day and female teens need 360 mg.

Potassium

Potassium helps with the muscle and nervous systems. It also helps to maintain the balance of water in blood and body tissues.

Where can you get it from?

Potassium is found in potatoes (with skins), green leafy vegetables, potatoes, citrus, bananas, fruits, dried fruits, and legumes (peas and lima beans). Teens need 4,700 mg of potassium each day.

Calcium builds strong bones and teeth. During childhood and the teen years, it is important to get enough calcium to fight against bone loss in later years. Without enough calcium, bones are susceptible to osteoporosis, which causes bones to break very easily.

Where can you get it from?

Milk and dairy products like yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese. Also dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, soy foods and other foods fortified with calcium, which includes some kinds or orange juices. Teens should have at least 1,300 mg of calcium per day.

Phosphorus is a component of our DNA and also the phospholipids that form all cell membranes.

Where can you get it from? Pinto beans, trout, black-eyed peas, almonds, pumpkin/squash, turkey, cooked chicken breast, pork chop, bok choy, and cabbage.

What can cause a mineral imbalance in the body?

Improper diet - If you eat too many refined and processed foods, your body will not have enough of the essential minerals to keep it running properly. Also, the way your food is prepared and also the soil that the food you are eating was grown in affects (whether or not it had adequate nutrients).

Chronic Stress - Emotional or physical stress depletes the body of nutrients and reduces the capability to absorb and utilize many nutrients.

Medications - Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can deplete the body stores of nutrients and can increase the toxicity of some minerals.

Pollution - Cigarette smoke, hair dyes (lead), anti-perspirants (aluminum) and many more.

Supplements - Taking an excess of supplements can produce mineral excesses.

Inherited - Trace mineral imbalances can result from hereditary disorders like hemochromatosis and Wilson's disease, kidney dialysis, parenteral nutrition, or restrictive diets prescribed for people with inborn errors of metabolism.

Interesting

The U.S. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils calculated the chemical and mineral composition of the human body, which breaks down as follows:

  • 65% Oxygen
  • 18% Carbon
  • 10% Hydrogen
  • 3% Nitrogen
  • 1.5% Calcium
  • 1% Phosphorous
  • 0.35% Potassium
  • 0.25% Sulfur
  • 0.15% Sodium
  • 0.15% Chlorine
  • 0.05% Magnesium
  • 0.0004% Iron
  • 0.00004% Iodine

Our bodies also contain trace quantities of fluorine, silicon, manganese, zinc, copper, aluminum, and arsenic. Together, all of the above amounts to less than one dollar!

Comments

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  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    So glad you found my mineral hub useful RTalloni. I appreciate your comments.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

    A helpful overview on needed minerals--thanks!

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad you agree Dr irum. I appreciate your comments.

  • Dr irum profile image

    Dr irum 6 years ago

    Useful information , Thanks to share with us .

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I agree - awareness is essential for smart choices. Thanks for your comments HealthyHanna. Aloha!

  • HealthyHanna profile image

    HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

    I do think this is an area most of us are lacking in. Knowledge is the first step. Thanks for the Hub.

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks for stopping over Butterfly Lady. I would love to see your collections of butterflies. Maybe you can do a hub about them. That would be great.

  • Butterfly Lady profile image

    Butterfly Lady 7 years ago from Broken Arrow, OK

    Your hub is fantastic. This is the kind of info I crave. Thanks for stopping by mine, to. Hope I am as successsful as you are in the coming years. I have a bit of writer in me. The butterflylady thing comes from my family and friends. My house is literally crammed with all kinds of artists rendering of butterflys. I do not have any one that is like anther. My best ones are the ones I have found in my own backyard and mounded with the help of my husband. He is the carpenter. Visit anytime.

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    shai77 - I'm flattered although I probably shouldn't be. I keep trying hard and I am learning a lot along the way. Thanks for your comments.

  • shai77 profile image

    Chen 7 years ago

    Thanks for the info :-)

    You have truly great Hubs :-)

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Great couponalbum! Glad you enjoyed my mineral hub. Thanks for your comments.

  • couponalbum profile image

    couponalbum 7 years ago from Sunnyvale, CA

    Nice hub elayne.. I am a vegetarian and love green vegetables because they are so rich in minerals. Liked your information.

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Pollyannalana (like your name by the way) - glad you liked it. Aloha!

  • Pollyannalana profile image

    Pollyannalana 7 years ago from US

    Good hub, very informative.

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks for your testimonial about minerals akirchner. Glad you are feeling better.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

    True, true, true - I've been having a terrible time with my arms, etc. aching and my doctor told me to start taking calcium, vitamin D, and zinc with magnesium - it really HAS helped - more than the braces! Great info!

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks LianaK. I try to learn something new with every hub I make.

  • LianaK profile image

    LianaK 7 years ago

    Well researched hub. Great job. Interesting information.

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad you came by JannyC. It is always good to read your positive comments.

  • JannyC profile image

    JannyC 7 years ago

    This was awesome. I enjoyed this hub and learning about Minerals in out health wow. I did not know all that.

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Happy Easter! I appreciate all of your comments regarding minerals in our diet. It is something to be aware of along with so many others so we can be healthier.

  • Katrina Ariel profile image

    Katrina Ariel 7 years ago from The Highlands of British Columbia, Canada

    This is a great list and source of condensed info on minerals. Good job!

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 7 years ago

    Thanks for all the valuable info.

  • profile image

    howdavidlives 7 years ago

    A really great hub I'll think about when preparing meals.

  • elayne001 profile image
    Author

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks for all your comments hubbers. I appreciate your interest in dietary minerals and hope you all have what you need to be healthy and happy.

  • Amber Allen profile image

    Amber Allen 7 years ago

    It is really interesting that the chemicals in our bodies are worth so little! Great hub.

    Amber:)

  • Teresa Laurente profile image

    Maria Teresa Rodriguez - Laurente 7 years ago from San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

    Very thorough and detailed about minerals which our body really must have to survive. Thank you for sharing this. More power.

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    Interesting hub. Thanks for sharing.

  • Guru-C profile image

    Cory Zacharia 7 years ago

    Great information. I find that when I'm getting the right mineral balance I feel full of energy and in great spirits. Magnesium is very helpful for feeling rested.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    A great comprehensive hub. Thank you sharing.