Why are minerals important in your diet?
Minerals are essential for many of our body functions but our human organism is unable to produce minerals itself. That’s why we need to EAT them! You find minerals in plants and meat. They help kids to grow, build strong bones, transmit nerve impulses and make sure you can chew your food with strong teeth. There are 16 minerals you need on a regular base to maintain your optimum health. They are divided in two groups:
Macrominerals which your body needs in larger quantities while Trace-minerals are required in smaller amounts.
Macro-minerals and their body functions:
Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves and the release of hormones. If people aren't getting enough calcium in their diet, the body takes calcium from the bones to ensure normal cell function, which can lead to weakened bones.
Food: Seeds, cheese, yoghurt, lentils, beans, almonds...
Phosphorus is commonly found in the body as phosphate and is primarily used for growth and repair of body cells and tissues. Also, phosphates play an important role in energy production as components of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is readily used to fuel your body's many functions.
Food: Meats, poultry, fish, nuts, beans, pumpkin seeds...
Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in the human body, with others including chloride, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium. Potassium is vital to the healthy functioning of all of your body's cells, tissues and organs. It also helps to control the amount of water in your body and maintain a healthy blood pH level.
Potassium: Banana, potatoes, avocado, grapefruits, dates...
Sodium is both an electrolyte and mineral. It helps keep the water (the amount of fluid inside and outside the body's cells) and electrolyte balance of the body. Sodium is also important in how nerves and muscles work. Most foods have sodium naturally in them. As a cooking ingredient you find sodium in table salt as sodium chloride or in baking soda as sodium bicarbonate.
Sodium: Beet, celery, carrots, meat, spinach, chard...
Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis.
Magnesium: Whole wheat, spinach, almonds, tofu, beans...