Minerals are referred to as the inorganic micronutrients. The body needs them in a standard quantity for proper functioning. In total there are sixteen essential mineral nutrients that must be supplied in our diets. In general, these are divided into two main categories namely the major and trace minerals. The major minerals include: chloride, potassium, sulfur, calcium; magnesium and sodium are basically found in the body and are more than 5 grams. The trace minerals which include iodine, chromium, fluoride and iron are found in the body but are less than 5 grams.
The minerals are required by the body to help the body in performing its functions in the times of metabolic reaction. Minerals help in the developments of body hormones hence the body requirement per individual may vary based on the sex and age of the person. Different minerals are needed at different rates so as to enhance a particular function. However, generally they are very instrumental in performing these functions namely: They help in the formation of teeth and bone structures in our bodies. Through the minerals, they help in maintaining normal heart rhythm through effective muscle contractility, acid base balance and neural conductivity. In addition, minerals help in regulation of cellular metabolism by becoming part of the hormones and enzymes which help in the modulation of cellular activities.
The recommended intake of minerals is necessary since they are not made in our body but are just obtained from our daily diet. The requirements must meet the necessity for a well balanced diet in our food that we consume daily. The table below shows the daily intake recommendation for both men and women.
|Minerals||Recommended intake for Men||Recommended intake Women|
|calcium||700 milligrams||700 milligrams|
|Iodide||0.14 mg||0.14 mg|
|Iron||8.7 mg||14.8 mg|
|Beta-carotene||7 mg||7 mg|
|Boron||<6 mg||<6 mg|
|magnesium||300 mg||270 mg|
|phosphorous||550 mg||550 mg|
|Potassium||3,500 mg||3,500 mg|
|Sodium chloride||<6 mg||<6 mg|
Deficiency of these minerals can cause circulatory disorders and inflammatory cases such as fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism and diabetes. Experiencing muscle spasms, numbness or brain fog are more effects of deficiency. Confusion, kidney stones and nervousness are as a result of inefficient minerals such as magnesium. Other related diseases such as high blood pressure and weak bone formation may be coursed by the inefficient phosphorous and calcium respectively. This shows that they are very much important in our body to function properly.
However, too much of minerals may not be healthy for the body and it results into wide range of effects. For instance, excess potassium leads to hyperkalemia characterized by heart palpitations and weakness. Excess sodium induces seizures in the body, irritability and general body weakness. In addition, surplus calcium causes constipation, kidney stones and bone pains. The general symptoms of excess minerals may include low blood pressure, breathing difficulties and heart problems.
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There are foods sources of minerals that can be used to gauge the mineral intake in our daily eating habits. These include milk, fish, green vegetables, nuts, bred, sardines, cereals, liver, meat, carrots, fruits, lentils, spices, spinach, peas, chicken, cheese and other breakfast cereals. Lack of minerals e.g. irons in the diet cause anaemia. Anaemia is characterized by headache, weakness, tiredness and dark patches. Inefficient iodine courses goitre. In adult, this disease results in swelling of glands at throat level while in children it courses stunted physical and mental growth.
Medically, minerals have been used in prevention of diseases and the manufacture of drugs which are helpful in daily life. The major fact about minerals is that many disorders and diseases are majorly coursed by either excess or deficiency of certain minerals. Lastly, balanced diets which incorporate these minerals are needed for disease free body.