Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients the body needs in small amounts to work properly. Human body needs various minerals; these are called 7 major minerals. Essential minerals are mainly divided up into trace minerals (microminerals) and major minerals (macro minerals). These two groups of minerals are equally important, but major minerals are needed in larger amounts than trace minerals. Vitamin and Minerals help the body develop, grow, and stay healthy. The body utilizes 7 major minerals to perform many different functions — from transmitting nerve impulses to building strong bones. Many minerals are even commonly used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.
Important Functions of Minerals in the Human Body
There are several important functions of minerals in the human body. Here we have listed a few common functions.
- Many minerals make up the lattice architecture of bones. Along with the minerals magnesium and phosphorus, calcium gives your bones density and strength. This mineral also maintains and builds healthy, strong teeth.
- You need oxygen to produce energy that is necessary for every bodily function and process. Iron is an essential mineral and without it, oxygen can not be attached to blood cells and body would not be able to produce energy necessary for life.
- Minerals are important to keep muscles and the nervous system functioning properly.
- Minerals are important for keeping the immune system strong and help the body heal wounds, fight infections and repair cells.
The Most Important Minerals and their Natural Food Sources
One receives minerals by eating plants that absorb them from the earth and by eating meat from animals that graze on plants.
Calcium is one of the plentiful minerals found in the body. The bones and teeth retain the most calcium. Blood, nerve cells, and other body fluids contain the rest of the calcium. Calcium is immensely essential for strong teeth and bones in children and young adults. It supports nerve transmission, muscle contractions, and intracellular signaling.
Calcium is regularly lost through feces, skin, hair, nails, urine and sweat. The lost calcium is replaced by the body by taking calcium from the bones to perform several other functions. Therefore, you must get sufficient calcium from your dietary supplements or diet. Natural sources of calcium minerals food include dairy products, milk, green leafy vegetables, sardines, salmon, tofu, turnips, broccoli, and almonds.
The human body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Natural sources of Vitamin D include sardines, shrimp, salmon, egg yolk, milk, orange juice, yogurt, cereal, cod liver oil, fish, margarines, beef, cheese, and swordfish.
Copper is an essential trace mineral present in all body tissues. It is essential to normal metabolism and is needed for the synthesis of hemoglobin, the red, oxygen-carrying pigment found in blood of humans though it is not a component of hemoglobin. Copper acts with iron to help the human body form red blood cells.
It also helps keep the nerves, blood vessels, bones and immune system healthy. Shellfish, beans, whole grains, potatoes, nuts, and organ meats (liver, kidneys,) dark leafy greens, dried fruits like cocoa, prunes, yeast and black pepper are excellent sources of copper in the diet.
Iodine is an essential mineral found in many foods. The human body needs iodine to produce thyroid hormones. These hormones control the body’s metabolism and several other important functions. Iodine immensely helps keep thyroid glands working. Thyroid gland helps manage the rate at which the body carries out its necessary physiological functions.
The human body also needs thyroid hormones for proper brain and bone development during infancy and pregnancy. Natural sources of iodine include iodized salt, seaweed, seafood and dairy products. Because foods are lacking in this mineral, it is better to take nutritional supplements in the form of capsules.
Iron is one of the essential minerals. The reason we need it is that it immensely helps to transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron is one of the components of hemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to transport it throughout the body. Hemoglobin represents about two-thirds of the human body’s iron. If you do not have enough iron, the body can not make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
The lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia. If you are pregnant, severe iron deficiency can increase baby’s risk of being born too early, or smaller than normal. Iron has other important functions, too. Iron is necessary to maintain healthy skin, nails and hair. Natural sources of iron include minerals food red meat, liver, legumes, egg yolk, dark green vegetables and whole enriched grains.
Magnesium is needed for more than 400 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve functions, keeps the heart beat steady, supports a healthy immune system, and helps the bones remain strong. It helps regulate the blood glucose levels and aid in the production of protein and energy.
Magnesium helps in managing and preventing disorders like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Therefore, you must get sufficient magnesium from your health supplements or diet. Nuts, whole grains, apricots, legumes, bananas, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, and spinach are natural sources of magnesium.
Manganese is one of the trace minerals that are present in the body. It is found mostly in the liver, bones, pancreas and kidneys.Manganese is a sources of minerals helps the body form bones, connective tissues, sex hormones and blood clotting factors.
It also plays a pivotal role in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, blood sugar regulation and calcium absorption. Manganese is necessary for normal nerve and brain function. Natural sources of manganese include fruit, whole grains, tea, vegetables and egg yolk.
Potassium is an important mineral for proper functions of the tissues, cells, and organs in the body. Potassium is crucial to the heart functions and plays a pivotal role in smooth skeletal muscle contraction, making it important for normal muscular and digestive function. Natural food sources of potassium include bananas, oranges, beans, peanuts, spinach and potatoes.
A balanced diet provides all of the essential minerals. Include the natural sources of minerals in your regular diet and enjoy a healthy, happy life.