It is widespread information that in order to optimise your health and wellbeing, it's beneficial to ensure you are getting a variety of vitamins and nutrients. But what is sometimes missed is the crucial role minerals play in our health.
Minerals usually are required in smaller amounts compared to other nutrients, however they are essential for a huge range of functions around the body.
Let's take a deeper look into how minerals help you function and the importance of them in maintaining good health.
So What are Minerals?
Minerals are elements found in the earth and are mainly absorbed by plants, animals, and us. They are divided into two categories: macrominerals (larger quanitities are needed) and trace minerals (smaller doses are required). Some of the essential minerals our bodies need for functioning include calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and selenium.
Strenghthening Bones & Teeth
Calcium is well known for its function in maintaining strong bones and teeth. Insufficient calcium intake can lead to conditions like osteoporosis. Sometimes, when diet is insufficient in calcium, a supplement can be helpful to ensure adequate calcium levels for our bones.
Magnesium and potassium help our muscles function properly - magnesium especially is a favourite of ours at Auchterarder Health Foods. Magnesium helps your muscles relax after contraction, while potassium regulates the muscle contractions. Athletes in particular, and individuals with regular muscle cramps (such as restless legs) may benefit from supplementing to ensure adequate intake.
Other roles magnesium plays include regulating the nervous system, and helping you relax into sleep. Magnesium is becoming ever increasingly popular for issues such as migraines, restless sleep or struggling to fall asleep and anxiety. Magnesium comes in many forms depending on why you are taking it, so make sure to ask us which type of magnesium is best for you before buying.
The Role of Iron
Iron is vital for making hemoglobin, which is a protein in red blood cells which are essential in transporting oxygen through the blood. A deficiency can result in anemia, characterised by fatigue, weakness, and reduced cognitive function. Iron supplements can be especially beneficial for pregnant women and individuals with chronic diseases. Remember to consult your primary care provider before going on any different supplementation.
Zinc and Selenium
Zinc and selenium are known for their immune-boosting properties. Zinc helps produce immune cells, while selenium acts as an antioxidant. These minerals strengthen your body's defenses against infections and illnesses and are great to take when suffering from colds, flus or cold sores.
Did you know? Zinc and selenium can be found in eggs and certain seafood such as oysters - pumpkin seeds are also a fantastic source of zinc! Try making a pesto with pumpkin seeds to make zinc a delicious addition to your diet.
The Balancing Act of Electrolytes
Sodium, potassium, and chloride are electrolyte minerals that help maintain proper fluid balance, keeping you hydrated, assisting with nerve function and muscle contractions. Maintaining the right balance of electrolytes also allows your body to regulate your pH balance.
- Try adding a tablespoon of aloe vera to some iced cucumber water for a super refreshing and hydrating electrolyte drink
- Or if pressed for time, add a pinch of natural sea salt to your water bottle!
Don't Forget the Trace Minerals
Even though trace elements are needed in micro amounts. Minerals like copper, manganese, and chromium play a part in various biochemical reactions, including energy metabolism and blood sugar regulation plus many more. It always best for your overall health to ensure you are getting a sufficient amount of trace elements in your diet.
Incorporating minerals into your diet can be a valuable addition to your wellness routine. However, if for some reason you can't access all the essential minerals through food, supplementation could be something to try. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation plan, as we all have bio individual needs. With the right approach, mineral supplements can help you feel your best self.
Gill and the team are always here to help if you have questions about what might be right for you - give us a call on 01764 660246.