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Why are minerals important and what are the top 12 minerals we need in our diet?
Minerals are inorganic substances and found occurring naturally in things such as soil, rocks and water. Plants take in minerals through the soil and water through their roots and animals absorb minerals from the plants they eat as well as other animals. They also get minerals from drinking water. Humans absorb minerals from the wide variety of foods that we eat and from drinking what we do, water , herbal teas, mineral waters etc……
But what do minerals do? These 12 minerals are essential for a variety of all of our bodily functions. They are crucial for strong bones and teeth, healthy blood, hair, how our skin looks, vital nerve functions, strong muscles and for metabolic processes that turn the food we eat into lif giving energy.
Our bodies require different minerals at different times in different amounts, but ultimately every single one is essential. The macro-minerals or major minerals are those which are needed on a daily basis or in larger amounts. Micro-minerals or trace elements as they are known, are those used in smaller amounts and have a smaller role to play but no less important
Needed daily, because 70-80 per cent of the calcium in food is passed out of the body, so the recommended intakes are about three times higher than the amount actually needed. 99 per cent of the remaining calcium is transported to the skeleton by vitamin D and the remaining 1 per cent performs the vitally important function of triggering muscle contractions, including those of the heart muscles, and nerve function, for the activity of several enzymes, and for normal clotting of the blood. Crash diets and chronic gastrointestinal diseases lead to calcium loss, and high consumption of alcohol, coffee, meat, bran, salt and cola drinks make it more difficult for calcium to be absorbed. In the UK, all bread except wholemeal is fortified with extra calcium.
Bread and flour, cheese, canned fish (where the bones are eaten), dried figs, dulse, green vegetables, hard water, kelp, milk, nuts, parsley, peanuts, wheatgrass, yoghurt
Chromium is defined as a nutrient. It is part of the glucose tolerance factor, which enhances the action of insulin in carbohydrate metabolism.
Present in most foods
Part of vitamin B12
Copper works with iron in the formation of haemoglobin and occurs in melanin pigments in skin and hair.
Liver, shellfish; also useful amounts in bread, cereals, meat and vegetables
Found in bones and teeth. Fluoride adds considerably to the strength of tooth enamel. Adults often obtain 1 mg fluoride from tea alone each day.
Fluoride in mains water supplies, sea fish, tea
Iodine is essential in the thyroid gland, where it is a component of the hormones produced there. Unlike other minerals, iodine is easily absorbed. It is sometimes given, to those who are exposed to large doses of radiation.
Warning: do not use any iodine products available from chemist’s shelves on your food.
Cereals, dulse, kelp, seafood, vegetables
Approximately half the iron in the body is found in haemoglobin in the blood, the other half in muscle tissue. Iron, therefore, is necessary for the production of red blood cells, a shortage of which results in anaemia. When anaemia is diagnosed a diet containing plenty of iron and vitamin C should be sufficient remedy. Tea hinders iron absorption, so do not drink tea until one hour after an iron-rich meal or drink.
Dried apricots, cereals, chocolate, curry powder, dulse, egg yolks, fish, kelp, lentils, liver, meat, nuts and seeds, potatoes, red wine, soy sauce, vegetables
Magnesium is also found in the bones and is absolutely necessary for every biochemical process in our bodies, including metabolism and the synthesis of both nucleic acids and proteins.
Widespread in foods, particularly cereals and vegetables
A deficiency can cause poor growth and deformities of the inner ear.
Beans, leafy green vegetables, nuts, spices, tea, wholegrain cereals
Phosphorus is found mainly in the bones and works with calcium, but some is needed for a chemical reaction that releases energy from food. It is more widely distributed in food than calcium. A deficiency is virtually impossible.
Baking powder, bread and cereal products, carrots, cheese spreads, dark green vegetables, dulse, kelp, meat and meat products, milk and milk products, as phosphate in dessert mixes, sausages; 10 per cent is also contained in food additives.
Like vitamin E, selenium helps to prevent oxidation of essential fatty acids but, unlike vitamin E, selenium can be toxic in high concentration.
Cereal products, fish, meat
Zinc plays an important part in wound healing. It is found mostly in the bones but elsewhere in the eyes, prostate and skin. A lack of zinc can result in hair loss and boils and swelling all over the skin.
Beans, carrots, fish, leafy green vegetables, meat and meat products, nuts, oysters, parsley, watercress, wholegrain cereals, wholemeal bread
Freshly juiced vegetable and fruit juices can supply up to 95% of the vital minerals and vitamins we need on a daily basis for our bodies nutritional needs. When you think about just how many vegetables and fruits you would need to eat to get the amount juice contained in one glass, it just not humanely possible to eat so much food! Thus juicing supplies your body with a packed dose of the top 12 vital minerals we need in an easy to digest form. We invite you to visit our Healthy Juicing Recipes and be inspired to take your health to another level!