Have you ever noticed how TV ads for breakfast cereal always mention vitamins and minerals? But when you think of minerals, food isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, is it? Aren’t minerals something you find in the earth, like iron and quartz?
Well, yes, but small amounts of some minerals are also in foods. And our bodies need them. Lots of them.
Just like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. Our body uses minerals to carry out lots of different functions — from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.
Which ones do we need?
The body needs different amounts of each mineral. Different people have different requirements, according to their age, sex, state (e.g. pregnancy) and sometimes their health. So there’s no ‘one size fits all’.
Essential minerals are sometimes divided up into major minerals (macrominerals) and trace minerals (microminerals). These two groups of minerals are equally important, but trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than major minerals.
Here’s a guide to macrominerals:
|Sodium||Nerves and muscles|
|Potassium||Nerves and muscles|
|Calcium||Healthy bones and teeth; helps muscles relax and contract; important in nerve functioning, blood clotting, blood pressure regulation, immune system|
|Phosphorus||Healthy bones and teeth; found in every cell.|
|Magnesium||Found in bones; needed for making protein, muscle contraction, nerves, immune system.|
|Sulfur||DNA, cell damage, skin, tendons, ligaments|
|Iron||Part of a molecule (hemoglobin) found in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the body; needed for energy metabolism|
|Zinc||Part of many enzymes; needed for making protein and genetic material; taste perception, wound healing, normal fetal development, production of sperm, normal growth and sexual maturation, immune system health|
|Iodine||Found in thyroid hormone, helps control growth, development, and metabolism|
|Selenium||Antioxidant, cell damage|
|Copper||Part of many enzymes; needed for iron metabolism|
|Manganese||Part of many enzymes|
|Fluoride||Involved in formation of bones and teeth; helps prevent tooth decay|
|Chromium||Works closely with insulin to regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels|
|Molybdenum||Part of some enzymes|
Other trace nutrients known to be essential in tiny amounts include nickel, silicon, vanadium, and cobalt.
Sounds like a pharmacy, doesn’t it?
Our bodies are quite tough, we don’t generally fall down dead if we don’t eat enough molybdenum. But when people don’t get enough of these important minerals, they can develop health problems. For instance, too little calcium — especially when you’re a kid — can lead to weaker bones.
How do we get them?
We should get enough from a healthy diet. But lots of people don’t eat such a healthy diet – do your kids eat broccoli? Do you? And our soil is lacking in some minerals these days too. Did you know that Popeye would need to eat ten times as much spinach to get the same amount of iron as when he was first on our screens? That’s why some minerals are added to cereals and other foods.
We can get minerals from various foods but, as usual, red meat, dairy, pulses (peas, beans etc) and those diet superstars, green leafy veg top the list. So vegetarians and vegans need to pay special attention to minerals.
We can also take good quality supplements to make sure that we get enough. Forever Living has a whole range of supplements which contain minerals:
Vitolize (men and women)
Forever Calcium (there’s a clue in the name!)
Our amazing Aloe Drinks
and, of course Forever Nature-Min.
To find out more about how you can make sure that you and your family are getting the right essential minerals, just take a look:
Our bodies are complex and amazing, minerals help keep them that way.