We’re all aware of the health benefits of vitamins. However, what about their smaller (in size and popularity) counterpart, minerals? Lately, minerals have gained a lot of traction in the health and wellness community. So, just why have these elements suddenly increased in popularity? Simply put, recent studies are showing the amazing health benefits of minerals on our mind, body, and overall vitality.
There are 103 known minerals, which make up about 4% of our body. These powerhouse elements, such as magnesium and potassium, are responsible for carrying out countless functions in the body. Oddly, our bodies cannot produce minerals on their own. Meaning, they must be consumed through a nutrient-rich diet.
Unfortunately, any form of stress (emotional, mental, physical, chemical, etc.) rapidly depletes minerals from the body. This helps to explain why so many Americans are mineral-deficient. In addition, poor soil quality has led to mineral-poor crops, meats, and other foods.
While the majority of American adults are mineral deficient, most are completely unaware of how they just might be contributing to their chronic symptoms. In fact, common symptoms of mineral deficiencies are common ailments, such as:
If one or more of these symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to look into your mineral status.
So, what exactly are the roles of minerals when it comes to our health? Below are the most abundant minerals and their health benefits:
Magnesium (Mg)– Magnesium is often called “the master mineral” and rightly so. It is used in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, affecting: muscle relaxation, blood sugar balance, blood pressure regulation, energy production, stress response, melatonin production, and more. Consuming adequate amounts of magnesium can help relieve period cramps and reduce PCOS symptoms. Common sources of magnesium include: nuts, beans, seeds, leafy greens, dark chocolate, epsom salt (for baths), topical sprays, lotions, and supplements. In fact, the NIH reports that 48% of people aren’t consuming enough magnesium. In this case, magnesium supplementation might be helpful. Magnesium comes in many different forms, all of which perform differently in the body. Here’s what you need to know:
Potassium (K)– Potassium helps with muscle coordination, nerve signaling, blood pressure regulation, and more. Common food sources of potassium include: coconut water, orange juice, potatoes, cream of tartar, squash, bananas, and avocado.
Sodium (Na)– Despite common belief, our bodies need sodium to thrive. Sodium is necessary for stomach acid production to promote digestion and reduce bloating. Common sources of sodium are: celtic sea salt, himalayan salt, dairy, fermented foods, shellfish, and seaweed. Note: it’s important to consume sodium from mostly whole food sources rather than processed foods.
Zinc– Zinc is responsible for aiding in wound healing, healthy skin, and a strong immune system. Common sources are: grass-fed meats, beans, whole grains, and nuts.
Iron- Iron is needed for the transport of oxygen to tissues. A lack of iron in the body can lead to an anemia diagnosis. Common sources of iron include: seafood and meat.
While these minerals are essential for the general population, athletes and active individuals must pay special attention to their mineral intake.
These mineral cocktail recipes are a convenient and delicious way to consume more minerals on a daily basis. Enjoy them in the morning or before bed to reap the benefits.
Increasing your daily mineral intake is a foundational step to improving your overall health. And, luckily, it can be quite delicious! How do you consume your minerals?