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What are Minerals?
Minerals can be found all around us—from the foods we eat and the water we drink to the ground we walk on. Minerals are essential nutrients for our bodies to stay strong and healthy, and they support many body functions and systems. Minerals play a big part in supporting healthy bones, joints, heart, immune and brain function, as well as hormone and enzyme production.
There are many minerals on earth, but the must-haves for our bodies’ wellbeing are deemed essential minerals. Essential minerals can be divided into two categories: macro minerals and trace minerals.
Macro minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur. If you glance at a mineral supplement ingredient list, you might see a very large difference in the servings of macro minerals to trace minerals. Macro minerals, or sometimes referred to as major minerals, are needed in a large quantity for our bodies because they’re necessary for multiple body functions like immune health, nerve functioning, blood flow support, fluid balance, joint health, supporting strong, healthy bones and more.
Small but mighty, trace minerals are needed in very small amounts for specific body functions like immune system function, blood health, hormone support, enzyme activity and much more. Trace minerals, also called micro minerals, include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium.
Healthy Bones and Muscles
We may not always think about our bones that make up our bodies or all the muscles and joints that play a part in our movements, but they are in constant use throughout most of our days. That’s why it’s so important to get the minerals and nutrients you need to help support these functions of your body.
Calcium, a mineral you may be familiar with, is a macro mineral that plays a vital role in strong bones and helps muscles relax and contract. Calcium is well-known for being in dairy products, but it can also be found in many other foods like salmon or greens like broccoli. If you’re not a big fan of dairy products or fish, you can also find calcium in other sources such as fortified tofu or soy milk.
Having a healthy immune system is always important, especially with our busy schedules. That’s why getting enough minerals, particularly trace minerals, is key to our wellbeing.
Iron may be the trace mineral people are most familiar with. Iron is needed by a molecule called hemoglobin to help carry oxygen throughout the body. Having enough oxygen in our blood and getting to all the parts of our body encourages healthy immune system function and overall wellness. Sources of iron include leafy greens like spinach, potatoes, a variety of mushrooms, oats and quinoa. It can also be found in red meats, fish, poultry, shellfish and egg yolks. Iron supplements are another popular option and come in many formulations and potencies.
Zinc is another important trace mineral for immune health. A small dose of zinc packs a huge punch for your body. While we can usually obtain sufficient amounts through a varied diet, many turn to zinc supplements for added support of immune and metabolic help. Zinc can typically be found in meats, fish, poultry, whole grains and vegetables.