Minerals ultimately come from the earth. They are inorganic substances that are found in soil and rocks. We as humans cannot produce minerals internally, so they are derived from food. The body needs many minerals which are commonly known as essential minerals. An essential mineral is sometimes divided into major minerals called the macromineral and trace minerals which are referred to as micro mineral. These two groups are equally important, but a trace mineral is needed in smaller amounts than major ones. But keep in mind that the amounts needed in the body are not an indication of their importance. A balanced diet must provide the human body with all of the essential minerals since they are essential nutrients that the body needs to survive and carry out daily functions and processes. You could receive minerals by eating plants that absorb them from the earth and by eating the meat of animals, which graze on plants. The different types of macro minerals include calcium, sodium, and potassium. Examples of micro minerals are iron, fluoride, and iodine.
The role played by minerals is numerous. Mineral acts as cofactors for enzyme reactions since enzymes refuse to work without minerals and all cells require enzymes to function. Minerals also give us our vitality or in other words, it could be compared to the battery that keeps us charged. They are known to maintain the pH balance within the body. Also, they facilitate the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes and maintain proper nerve conduction. Not only this, they also help to contract and relax muscles all the while helping to regulate our bodies tissue growth and providing structural and functional support for the body.
Trace minerals are included in providing the benefits just mentioned, an example of this is the mineral iron. Iron is found in blood and is vital for the formation of a protein called hemoglobin, found in red blood cells, which carries oxygen. Hence iron deficiency could lead to anemia, which happens when your body doesn’t contain enough healthy red blood cells. To avoid this, red meat which is high in iron helps or at least consume iron-fortified grains. Other than iron, another trace mineral of importance is fluoride. This is present in toothpaste and drinking water to ensure that you do not get cavities. Similarly, iodine is also added in trace amounts in daily life commonly in iodized salt. Iodine helps to regulate the body’s metabolism because it is necessary for the thyroid gland to produce its hormones. Thus, macro and micro nutrients have equal importance even though micro nutrients are only present in trace amounts.
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