Medically reviewed by Kelly Van Gorden, MS, RD, CD
Why Are Minerals Important?
The term ‘minerals’ refers to a range of nutrients required to keep our bodies functioning properly.
Minerals do many different jobs. They contribute to our bone, muscle, heart, and brain health. Minerals are also key components for making enzymes and hormones.
The minerals our bodies need are known as essential minerals. These essential minerals are made up of two types of minerals: macrominerals and microminerals. You will need larger amounts of macrominerals like calcium, magnesium, and sodium while only a small amount of microminerals like zinc and iron.
Most of the time, you get the right amount of minerals that you need by eating a varied diet. But in some cases your doctor may recommend a mineral supplement.
Let’s take a look at the five main minerals that will show up on your GenoPalate analysis, their importance and what happens if you accidentally over consume them.
What differentiates a mineral from a vitamin?
You might be wondering what the differences are between vitamins and minerals. While they are both important for a healthy functioning body, they do play different roles in getting our bodies working properly.
Vitamins can come in two forms: fat soluble and water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K dissolve in fat and are stored in your body. Water soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, and B-complex vitamins need water to dissolve before being absorbed and cannot be stored in the body.
This means that you will need a new supply of these vitamins every day!
Vitamins are made up of organic substances, from plants or animals. Minerals are inorganic materials that come from soil and water which are absorbed by plants or animals. Minerals retain their structure and are easier for your body to absorb.
While both vitamins and minerals are important in our diet, it’s not always easy to get the amounts that we need to stay healthy.
Why Minerals are Important
Let’s first discuss the three macrominerals that might show up on your analysis:
Calcium is critical to building strong bones and teeth. It also plays a key role in muscle contraction and relaxation. It is even important for nerve functioning, blood clotting, blood pressure regulation, and immune system health.
Your body also uses calcium to promote movement in your muscles and for sending nerve signal messages to your brain. Finally, it helps with blood flow and fundamental body function.
You can get calcium from milk and milk products, canned fish with bones, fortified tofu and soy products, greens, and legumes.
While most dietitians will recommend you cut back on sodium (aka salt), your body does need a small amount to function properly.
You need sodium for proper fluid balance in your body, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction. Not only is sodium a mineral, but it is also an electrolyte. It helps you balance water and electrolytes in your body. It is also important for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles.
Most sodium in your body is found in your blood and lymph fluid and your sodium levels are controlled by a hormone called aldosterone which is created by your adrenal glands. This hormone tells your kidneys when to keep sodium in the body instead of passing it.
You can get sodium from table salt, soy sauce, processed foods, bread, vegetables, and unprocessed meat.
Magnesium is crucial for many processes in the body. In fact, over 300 chemical processes rely on it! This includes regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Your muscles need magnesium to contract, your nerves need it to send messages, and it keeps your heart beating strong.
You can get magnesium from nuts and seeds, legumes, dark, leafy greens, seafood, dark chocolate, artichokes, and “hard” drinking water.
Now, let’s take a look at the microminerals:
Iron is part of a molecule known as hemoglobin and it is found in red blood cells that carry oxygen in the body. Iron is needed both for energy metabolism and to transport oxygen throughout the body.
If we do not have adequate levels of iron, the body cannot make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This can cause you to feel fatigued, which affects brain function and compromises your immune system’s ability to fight off infections.
You can get iron from organ and red meats, fish, poultry, shellfish, egg yolks, dried fruits, dark, leafy greens, and iron-enriched bread and cereals.
Zinc is part of many enzymes and is needed for protein synthesis and other genetic materials in your body. Next to iron, it is one of the most abundant trace minerals found in your body.
Zinc is especially important during pregnancy, infancy and childhood, because our bodies need zinc in order to grow and develop properly. It aids in wound healing, normal fetal development, sperm production, normal growth, sexual maturation, and immune system health.
You can get zinc from: meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, and vegetables.
While you need these minerals for health, you can also suffer from something called mineral toxicity. According to the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, it is a “condition in which the concentration in the body of any one of the minerals necessary for life is abnormally high, and which has adverse effects on health”.
This happens when an individual inadvertently or accidentally consumes too much of any mineral. Most of the time it is a result of taking too many dietary supplements.
For example, if an individual ingests too much sodium it can cause cells in the body tissue, including the brain, to shrink. This can lead to confusion, coma, and in serious cases, death. Over-consuming other minerals have other adverse effects on your body. This is why it’s important to know what levels of mineral intake your body needs.
Find the Right Mineral Balance For You
Achieving the right balance of the appropriate essential minerals your body needs is absolutely crucial. In your GenoPalate analysis, you will get information about your ideal nutrient and mineral intake based on your unique DNA. This genetic blueprint can help ensure you are getting the correct level of minerals to fuel your body.
If you want to learn more about what your DNA test can reveal click here. Or, if you’re ready to start your journey to a healthier lifestyle, head this way.
Ready to discover a healthier you? Order your report and use the GenoPalate app to start eating for your genes.Buy Now!
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