Minerals and trace minerals help keep us healthy – but what do we mean by this?
Feel tired and listless. A blood test may reveal a lack of iron, which could result in the development of anemia. This condition means that your body is poorly supplied with oxygen. Your body needs Iron to make part of your red blood cells. Our bodies need iron to enable us to make the oxygen carrying proteins called hemoglobin (found in red blood cells) and myoglobin (found in muscles).
Iron is but one mineral found in our bodies. A deficiency in any of the essential minerals can result in minor to major illnesses. Our bodies rely on many different minerals to keep us healthy and functioning properly.
Trace Minerals: Minute quantities needed to satisfy the body
Small defect, big impact. Iron exists only in minute amounts in our bodies. Therefore, the mineral belongs to the so-called trace minerals. By trace minerals we mean if the concentration is less than 50 milligrams per kilogram of body mass.
Among the trace minerals in addition to iron, for example, include iodine, zinc, copper, selenium, fluorine, chromium and manganese. Major minerals consist of sodium and potassium as well as magnesium, calcium, chloride and phosphorus. All these minerals have one thing in common: The body needs them to stay healthy. Trace and major minerals provide strong bones, strong muscles and healthy teeth, as well as mental fitness and a smooth metabolism and much much more.
Mixed diet usually contains all the necessary Trace Minerals
It is possible to consume a diet with enough trace and major minerals to be healthy. To be supplied with all the essential minerals, one should eat as versatile a diet as possible. However, it is very rare that people consume this type of diet in the necessary proportions. Furthermore, the quality of the food we consume, even if it is varied and containing plenty of fruit and vegetables, it is likely to be depleted of the quantity and variety of all the necessary minerals the body requires.
In general, dairy products, for example, contains plenty of calcium and phosphorus. Good magnesium suppliers are whole grain foods and spinach. Rich in potassium are vegetables, potatoes, legumes and bananas. The prime sources of iron are liver, meat and lentils. Vegetarians, and particularly vegans, who forego all animal products need to take better care of their diet than someone who eats everything. For example, the body can better absorb iron from meat than iron found in vegetables. If you are vegan or a vegetarian then a way of helping the intestines to better absorb the iron from plant sources is to consume vitamin C or foods high in vitamin C. It is particularly important for women to be meticulous with iron levels due to the fact iron is lost through the menstruation cycle.
Pregnant women should pay attention to mineral intake
For pregnant women, despite a balanced diet, many times more minerals are needed than usual to keep both the mother and the fetus healthy. During pregnancy and lactation it is very easy to become deficient in iodine, iron and calcium. Since a lack of iodine, for example, can interfere with the development of the brain in babies, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment advises pregnant and breastfeeding women, after consultation with the obstetrician or gynecologist for additional intake of dietary iodine. Pregnant and lactating women should seek advice in advance from their doctor to see if a food supplement in the individual case is useful and what dose appears appropriate.
Need for minerals regardless of how well you feel
Regardless of what age you are or how fit you are, you should always focus on a mineral rich diet. People over 70 usually do not eat as much and therefore do not, generally, consume enough minerals. In addition, diseases and illnesses may change the need for certain nutrients. With heavy physical or mental strain the need for certain trace and major minerals increases. When stress or endurance sports are undertaken, the body will excrete magnesium, calcium and zinc. So a runner who is running, for example, four to five hours per week, will need more minerals than a leisurely walker.
Mineral Supplements: Advice is important
Not many people are fully aware of the importance of getting enough minerals into their body. However, it is not wise to start consuming all sorts of mineral supplements without knowing what you are doing. Certain quantities of specific minerals can be harmful to certain individuals. Having said that, it certainly is highly beneficial to ensure your body is properly supplied with what it needs to function properly. As with taking any type of dietary supplementation, regardless of how natural it is, you should always seek the advice of your doctor before doing so as every individual is different and specific individual circumstances may need to be taken into consideration to do so safely.