The human body is amazingly complex. In order to function properly, it is important to give your body the nutrients that it needs. Figuring out what nutrients are the most beneficial can be a complex task, so here is a summary of important minerals (and some vitamins!) that your body needs and how they benefit your health.
Iron is vital because it is what carries oxygen through the blood to the rest of the body. Iron is a component of hemoglobin, a substance in the red blood cells. If you don’t have enough iron, you can’t create red blood cells. If you can’t create enough red blood cells, your body can’t get enough oxygen. When your body doesn’t get enough oxygen, it becomes fatigued. That fatigue can impact several systems in the body, such as brain functions, the immune system, muscle development, ability to maintain healthy cells, and the skin.
Eating foods rich in iron such as shellfish, spinach, and legumes will increase the body’s iron over time. It’s important to also consume vitamin C since that aids in the absorption of iron. Those who are suffering from low iron can also take iron supplements.
Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. It is especially important for children to consume enough calcium, while their bodies are developing to have peak bone mass upon full development and reduce the chances of osteoporosis later in life.
Calcium is a well-known ingredient in dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese. For those that don’t eat dairy, calcium is also in spinach, beans, tofu, and black molasses.
The benefits of magnesium in the body are multifaceted. Magnesium plays an important role in bone health, assisting in the absorption of calcium and necessary for bone formation. It is also important to muscle health, and including organs like the heart and intestines, and can also act as a natural muscle relaxer. Sufferers from diabetes may see an improvement in symptoms since magnesium plays a role in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism Some less well-known benefits of magnesium include relieving anxiety, migraine headaches, and premenstrual symptoms.
Magnesium can be found in foods like nuts, seeds, bananas, leafy green vegetables, and dark chocolate.
Iodine isn’t found naturally in the body, so to get its benefits, you must consume the mineral through foods or a supplement. According to https://microbeformulas.com/blogs/microbe-formulas/5-bonus-benefits-of-iodine, iodine is an energizer for the body and increases the body’s metabolism. It also binds to and removes toxins from the body, including bacteria and radioactive material, and can help prevent thyroid cancer by improving thyroid function. Children need iodine for physiological and cognitive development, so a supplement should be considered if proper levels aren’t being consumed through the diet.
You probably already consume many of the foods that contain iodine. These foods include cranberries, milk, cod, turkey breast, cheese, and boiled eggs. If you want to try some more exotic foods to increase your iodine consumption, give dried seaweed, squid, and persimmon a try.
Potassium is an important mineral for heart health by regulating blood pressure. The nervous system needs potassium to function correctly as well. Potassium is also one of several minerals that are electrolytes that is important in keeping the body well-hydrated.
Bananas are popularly known as an excellent source of potassium. Some other foods to consume are greens, sweet potatoes, and salmon.
Folic acid is another mineral that is important for heart health because it helps eliminate homocysteine from the blood, which is associated with cardiovascular disease. It is essential for pregnant women to have enough folic acid before and during pregnancy to prevent certain birth defects from occurring.
Foods that are natural sources of folic acid include dark leafy greens, broccoli, citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, and beets.
The brain needs zinc to function and for memory. Zinc also helps with thyroid function, immunity, and fertility. Zinc is found in seafood like oysters and in other foods like spinach, cashews, beans, and dark chocolate.
Chromium is a vital mineral that improves glucose functions, which helps the body keep blood sugar under control. It also helps the cells get the energy they need to function properly. Diets rich in whole grains and vegetables are the natural way to consume chromium.
When talking about B vitamins, there are several different vitamins that fall into this group. You probably have heard them referred to by their numeric indicators, such as B1, B6, or B12. All the B vitamins grouped together is called B-Complex. Each of the B vitamins plays an important role in your health. Most of the B vitamins support metabolic function, neurological function, red blood cell production, and boosted immunesystem. They are often credited with helping your body get nutrients from food and, therefore, increasing energy. Improved mood and reduced stress and anxiety have also been credited to B vitamins. Some B vitamins have additional or different benefits, such as B2, which acts as an antioxidant.
Good sources of B vitamins are animal foods, whole grains, potatoes, bananas, beans, and yeast. Many people also take B vitamin supplements to increase their consumption.
Listing the rest of the vitamins may seem like alphabet soup, but all the vitamins are needed to work together for the best overall health. Each one has individual benefits that you can’t miss out on. For example, Vitamin A is necessary for healthy eyes, teeth, and skin and warding off chronic diseases. Vitamin A is found in orange foods like carrots, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes.
Many people consume extra vitamin C during cold and flu season because they know it plays a vital role in supporting the immune system, among other benefits. Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, strawberries, cherries, and peppers.
Vitamin D is important for bone and colon health and can be created within the body naturally when your skin is exposed to the sun. If you don’t get enough sunlight, eat foods like broccoli, egg yolks, and cereal.
Vitamin E and K are not commonly talked about, but both play a role in your blood, with E improves blood circulation and K improves blood clotting. Vitamin E is found in nuts and seeds; consuming green leafy vegetables will give you the benefits of vitamin K.
Consuming a variety of healthy foods is necessary to get all the nutrients your body needs. And if your body is lacking a nutrient, you should talk to your doctor about ways to supplement your diet. No matter what age, the body constantly needs to be fortified to function, heal, grow, and ward off disease. Good health is important to more than just your physical well-being; it impacts your emotional and mental well-being, too.
To read more on topics like this, check out the health category.