Nutrition 101: Eat Your Minerals!
Welcome to the next in my Nutrition 101 blog series. Previous posts covered the nutrient dense diet, digestion, blood sugar balance, and fatty acids. This post explains why and how you should eat your minerals.
We need 7 macrominerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfur) and multiple microminerals, (chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc, etc.) for good health.
Minerals perform many important functions in the body, but here are just a few:
Calcium is important for strong bones, but did you know that it’s also necessary for maintaining proper blood pH? If the blood becomes too acidic, calcium is released from your bones to make the blood more alkaline. If the blood becomes too alkaline, calcium is taken out of the blood and put back into the bones. This is why it’s important to eat healthy so you can maintain proper pH, WITHOUT your body needing to leach it from your bones!
Minerals help transfer nutrients across cell membrane. They also help ensure a proper balance of sodium and potassium inside and outside of cells. Proper cell function also requires eating enough healthy fat and maintaining proper sugar balance.
ENZYME & HORMONE COFACTORS
There are nearly 100,000 enzymes and 50 hormones at work in the human body. All of these require specific minerals to function. Insulin, for example, cannot do its job without chromium. Thyroid hormones need iodine. Cobalt is needed to synthesize vitamin B12 in the gut. Selenium and zinc are needed for prostate health in men.
Given that minerals are so important to optimal health, we all need to make sure we get them daily. You can always take a good multivitamin with minerals. The best way though is to EAT your minerals. They taste better that way too!
3 WAYS TO EAT YOUR MINERALS
- Leafy green vegetables. Vegetables—especially the leafy greens—are an excellent source of minerals. When possible, choose organic, locally sourced vegetables grown in mineral rich soils, and don’t forget to add fat to best absorb their fat-soluble vitamins.
- Sea salt, seaweed & sea food. Foods from the sea are an excellent source of many macro and microminerals. Oysters, for example, have the highest amount of zinc of any food. Seaweed is a delicious way to get your iodine. Nori is a great snack and finger food for children and adults alike!
- Mineral water & bone broth. Did you know that you can drink your minerals too? Natural mineral water from clean underground sources contains some important minerals. I like Gerolsteiner water from my local Trader Joe’s. Also, consider making some homemade bone broth It’s an easy, delicious, and inexpensive way to drink your minerals.
I hope this post gave you some good ideas on eating your minerals, they really are a pillar of good health. Stay tuned for the next in the Nutrition 101 Series on Hydration!