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Your body needs minerals to function properly: Importance and food sources of these essential nutrients

You can easily increase your intake of minerals via food instead of taking it in the form of supplements. Read on to know more.

Are you aware of which minerals are essential and how they play a crucial role in your body? Read on to knows all about it

Minerals are vital substances for every living being to live a healthy life. They are like little warriors which help the body in regeneration and repair of cells, energy transmission, nerve signaling, strengthening muscle and bone, healing wounds, boosting immunity, and much more. Thousands of mechanisms in our body like performing day-to-day activities smoothly need the necessary amount of different minerals. But are we aware of which minerals are essential and how they play a crucial role in our body? And how can one take minerals via food instead of medicine? Below are the lists of essential major minerals and their supplements of food.

CALCIUM

Calcium is one of the most important minerals for bone and teeth. It makes skeletal strong- gives solid and static structure. Other than that, it regulates blood pressure, activates enzymes throughout the body and helps in muscle movements.

Deficiency

Any deficiency in calcium can lead to bone problems, muscle fatigue, growth retardation and teeth anomalies.

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Food sources

To take enough calcium, one should incorporate dairy foods such as yogurt, milk, tofu, cheese, etc in everyday meals. Also, certain leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale have nutrition's in them. Non-vegetarian people can have fish like sardines and salmons for calcium.

PHOSPHORUS

Same as calcium, phosphorus has a significant role in the formation of bones and teeth. The human body takes 80 per cent of phosphorus for skeletal growth or remodeling of the bones. It is also essential for the body to create protein for cell tissue development, maintenance, and repair.

Deficiency

Less intake or deficiency of phosphorus can cause weakness, bone demineralization, teeth loss, calcium deficiency, and consequences of low calcium. Over intake can cause kidney problems. Therefore any mineral should be taken in an adequate amount.

Food sources

One can get phosphorus from red meat, fish, eggs and poultry while vegetarians can get it from whole grains, oats, bread, rice, milk and cheese.

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is a mineral for hard and soft tissue. It is not only required for bone structure but also activation of enzymes, nerve and muscle activity, protein synthesis, the necessary release of energy, regulation of body temperature, and fat metabolism. It is interrelated with calcium, phosphorus and sodium, which are minerals for the brain and bone. So, it can be said that magnesium is essential for every human activity.

Deficiency

But what if the insufficiency is present in the body? Then it shows signs like migraine or headache, restless leg, anxiety, muscle cramps-especially legs, irritability, body muscle ache, etc.

Food sources

To overcome magnesium deficiency, one should take magnesium from nuts, milk, whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables, and also from some animal products.

SODIUM, POTASSIUM, CHLORIDE

These minerals control electrolyte balance and body water content or body fluid balance. However, potassium has some other roles too, such as maintenance of cardiovascular health and nerve-cell function regulation. These three minerals are essential for the management of body fluids. They work together for the eating process by regulating muscle contractions, nerve reaction or brain function, absorption of certain nutrients and water from the intestine, protein synthesis, and acid regulation for digestion.

Deficiency

Deficiency of any of these can cause blood pressure problems, fluid retention, digestion issues, weakness, mental confusion, muscle cramps, ankle swelling, and so on. If the deficiency is severe, then it can also cause paralysis or heart failure.

Food sources

Everyone knows salt is the best source for these minerals, as it contains sodium chloride. For potassium, fruits are the best source- Banana, pumpkin, orange, dates, nuts, seeds, pulses, yogurt, milk and soybeans. Some non-vegetarian options are meat, fish, and shellfish.

IRON

Everyone knows how vital iron is. Though it comes under the category of trace minerals, its function for the body should not be overlooked. Iron is necessary for blood production, transport of oxygen, and proper immune function. Furthermore, it is needed for the metabolism of certain drugs / foreign substances which need to be excreted from the body.

Deficiency

Iron deficiency can cause anemia, fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, muscle pain, dizziness, glossitis /inflamed tongue, headache. Very low or deficiency of this mineral can become life-threatening.

Food sources

Foods like nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils, cashews, whole grain cereals, beef, oysters, chicken, and turkey have a rich source of Iron.

TRACE MINERALS

Although minerals mentioned above have prime importance, never forget other trace minerals; as they too participate in many body functions. Trace minerals are zinc, fluoride, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium, chromium. Each has its own functions. For example, zinc has a significant role in the metabolism of fat, lipid, protein, carbohydrate, and enzymes. It also participates in cell growth, wound healing, and regeneration of skin cells. Iodine is essential for thyroid hormone regulation and, consequently, physical and mental development. Manganese acts as an antioxidant enzyme.

Deficiency

Though trace minerals are required in a little amount, deficiency of these minerals can create many abnormalities in bodies.

Food sources

They are present in all dairy products, seafood, nuts and pulses, wholegrain cereals, iodized salt, meat products, and so on.

This is how minerals run our bodies in all manners. So, to keep yourself energetic and disease-free, incorporate a healthy diet to get maximum nutrients.

(This article is authored by Ankur Agarwal, Founder, Medkart Pharmacy)

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