What is a mineral in nutrition?

//What is a mineral in nutrition?
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What is a mineral in nutrition?

What do minerals do for you?

Mineral nutrients are an essential part of our diet. In addition to carbohydrates, fat, protein, water and vitamins they have to be consumed daily. According to the definition of mineral nutrients, they are neither herbal nor animal nutrients. They are more likely non-organic that includes that our body isn´t able to produce them on its own.

You can find minerals in groundwater, farmland or seawater. The food chain leads them into our system.

 

Trace minerals and macro minerals have big influence on your health and overall well being. Get to know about the benefits of minerals and click through to nutritionisthenewsmart.com #healthyliving #healthylivestyle #minerals #nutritioneducation #nutritionmatters

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Benefits of minerals for your health

Do you know the feeling of being tired all day every day and you can´t figure out the reason? Maybe you want to speed up your metabolism to lose some weight. Or is your goal to balance your blood pressure?

Since every cell needs minerals for a proper function it makes sense to have a closer look at the mineral density of your food.

Without mineral nutrients, our body wouldn’t be able to function in any way. Their range of functionality includes the overall buildup of our body to the point of supporting a lot of different physiological functions.

They keep all organs active like a well-oiled machine. Anti-aging and overall wellness are also on the list of benefits. And who doesn´t want to look their best as long as possible, right?!

There are two types of minerals: MACRO, MICRO elements

Minerals are divided into two groups regarding the required amount:

> more 50 mg => macro elements

< less 50 mg => micro elements (trace elements)

1. Macro Minerals:

  • Sodium (Na)
  • Potassium (K)
  • Chlorine (CL)
  • Calcium (Ca)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Magnesium (Mg)
  • Sulfur (S)

2. Trace Minerals:

  • Iron (Fe)
  • Iodine (I)
  • Fluorine (F)
  • Zinc (Zn)
  • Selenium (Se)
  • Chromium (Cr)

All minerals together sum up to 4% of our body weight. You will find them the most in teeth, bones, and blood. You need each and every mineral in an appropriate amount so all processes can run smooth and efficient. A proper balance amongst the minerals is crucial otherwise it can lead to significant body dysfunctions.

1. Macro Minerals

Sodium

The most important sodium compound is sodium chloride (table salt).

Functionality:

  • regulation of acid-base balance
  • excitability of nerves and muscles
  • regulation of pressure conditions within the cells
  • without sodium, muscles can´t work and pain sensation is disordered
  • enables the water storage in the body

Food rich in sodium e.g.caviar, minerals

  • caviar, salted herring
  • olives
  • pickled gherkins
  • cheese
  • smoked bacon

Potassium

Compared to sodium, you find 90% of potassium inside of body cells.

Functionality:

  • potassium and sodium together are responsible for the excitability of nerve – and muscle cells
  • regulation of pressure conditions within the cells
  • regulation of water balance inside your body
  • positive influence on a regular heartbeat

Food rich in potassium e.g.Kartoffeln, minerals

  • potatoes, spinach
  • avocado, banana
  • dried fruit
  • grains, legumes
  • milk, dairy products

Chlorine

It exists in a high concentration in digestion fluids like in form of salt acid in the stomach and also in brain fluids.

Functionality:

  • regulation of acid-base balance
  • together with sodium and potassium, it´s responsible for tension in body tissues

Chlorine gets consumed with table salt and with all salty foods.wiesnbreze

Calcium

Calcium has the biggest amount of all minerals in our body and it´s mostly tied to phosphorus.

Functionality:

  • excitability of nerves and muscles
  • involved in blood clotting
  • part of bones and teeth
  • regulation of water balance and electrolyte metabolism

broccoliFood rich in calcium e.g.

  • cheese
  • green vegetables
  • nuts, seeds

Positive influence to calcium resorption:

  • vitamin D, potassium
  • protein rich food
  • lactose

Negative influence to calcium resorption:

  • oxalic acid (from spinach, rhubarb, black tea)
  • phosphate (included in meat or sausages)
  • low levels of sodium result in losing calcium because sodium takes the same way of transportation as calcium does

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is the second common mineral in our body and comes in the form of phosphate.  You will find it mostly in bones and teeth.

Phosphate is often used in convenience food as a preservative.

For example, to keep sausages fresh for longer, phosphate is used as an ingredient because of its water retaining characteristics.

Functionality:

  • an important part of bones and teeth
  • regulation of acid-base balance
  • supports energy production
  • influences the effect of hormones

Digression: the food industry uses phosphate:

  • as a component of melting salts in the production of soft cheese
  • they lose the structure of a protein and enable it to bond more water (used in sausages)
  • agglomeration of food powders (powdered coffee, baby food)

Food rich in phosphate e.g.hamburger

  • soft cheese, mozzarella
  • sausages
  • grains, soybeans
  • processed food

Magnesium

A lot of foods contain magnesium, however, a magnesium deficiency is very common.  The reason is mostly a non-balanced diet and too much convenience food.

Functionality:

  • an important component of bones
  • supports resorption of calcium
  • strengthens the heart and widens coronary blood vessels
  • excitability of nerves and musclescashew
  • essential role for muscle contraction and relaxation

Food rich in magnesium e.g.

  • wheat germs, yeast
  • wholemeal
  • cashew nuts
  • soybeans

For more information about magnesium and the connection to stress, click here

2. Trace Minerals

Iron

Surprisingly iron belongs to the group of trace minerals besides their 60 mg/kg amount, that´s because of their special impact. Iron is an essential part of hemoglobin and myoglobin. These two proteins are responsible for transporting carbon dioxide and oxygen in our blood.

Functionality:

  • vital for a lot of enzymes
  • important for building up hemoglobin and myoglobin 

According to WHO (World Health Organisation), it´s the most common deficiency of the world! As a reason for that, they point out a nutrient-poor and sugar-rich diet. Oftentimes a diet with a minimal meal consumption adds up to that.

The iron concentration also decreases as a result of injuries or operations with a high blood loss.

Food rich in iron e.g.

  • meat
  • spinach
  • chickpeas, lentils
  • hazelnuts

There is a higher rate of resorption from animal products than from plant products. The iron from plants has to be transformed first into a soluble form for our body to be digested. The outcome of the resorption is about 5%.

Resorption gets blocked from:

  • phytic acid from whole grain
  • oxalate from spinach, rhubarbRhabarber
  • phosphate from convenience food
  • calcium from dairy products
  • tannins from coffee and black tea

Tip: to enhance the iron absorption you should take your coffee not directly after eating. Let some time pass by before you have your coffee after eating. 

Iodine

The Thyroid is dependent on iodine to build thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These hormones influence body temperature, oxygen consumption, water balance and the central nervous system.

Additionally, they are essential for carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.

Thyroid dysfunctions are a common problem. If there´s a low level of iodine the thyroid react to that deficiency by growing. It increases its volume to get more iodine out of the food and balance out the lacking mineral. You can see this phenomenon is shown externally in form of a struma.

If the iodine consumption is too high, the thyroid can react with the following signs:

palpitations, excitability, sweating, diarrhea

Food rich in iodine e.g.

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  • sea fish
  • eggs
  • edam cheese
  • kale, broccoli, carrots

To prevent an iodine deficiency table salt gets enriched with iodine.

Fluorine

This mineral is dissolved in water. Nearly the whole amount in our body is to be found in teeth and bones.

Functionality:

  • the main mineral for teeth
  • supports cells which build up bones

Around 1930 it was discovered in the USA that you could prevent caries with a higher level of fluorine in the drinking water. Therefore the drinking water in the USA and also Switzerland is enriched with fluorine.

Fluorine in big amounts has a similar effect as poison. That circumstance is the reason why adding the mineral to drinking water is forbidden in some countries.

Food rich in fluorine e.g.water

  • black tea
  • fish
  • walnuts
  • several mineral waters 

Zinc

About 75% of the mineral zinc is hold in bones, skin, hair in a part of the pancreas.

Functionality:

  • essential for hair and tissue growth
  • plays a role in storing Insulin in the pancreas
  • impact on sex hormones
  • supports wound healing
  • activates vitamin a from the liver

Food rich in zinc e.g.oatmeal

  • meat
  • eggs
  • milk
  • legumes
  • wholemeal, oats

Selenium

The amount of selenium in food is highly dependent on how much the farmland has to offer of this mineral.

Functionality:

  • able to bind free radicals
  • strengthens the immune system, cell protection
  • plays also a role in the visual process 

Food rich in selenium e.g.coconut

  • fish, meat
  • coconuts, Brazil nuts
  • wholemeal

Chromium

This mineral has a big part in the carbohydrate metabolism! Chromium has an influence on insulin. Without it, it would not be possible to get insulin inside of the cells.

Food rich in chromium e.g.

  • corn oil
  • meat, liver, eggs
  • wheat germs
  • wholemeal
  • legumes
  • brewer’s yeast

What is now the take away from this article? Eat fresh, colorful foods, nuts, and grains. Most people are focused only on their magnesium intake but you have to see the big picture here. You need way more than only one mineral for a good working body. You need them ALL.

2018-08-06T18:09:21+00:00