Don’t Forget About Minerals!
Each morning, you probably wake up and take some sort of vitamin supplement that a medical physician recommended to you. We are constantly getting blood tests and boosting our diet with foods rich in vitamins in the fear that we are deficient. We slather our skin with Vitamin A and E oils, we keep track of our Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B7 levels… but what about minerals?
Externally, minerals are essential for building and maintaining strong bones, healthy teeth, firm skin, beautiful hair, and powerful muscles. Internally, minerals bolster nerve function, blood flow, and metabolic processes. The most common mineral deficiencies that you should be watching out for are deficiencies in calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. Being deprived of these minerals over time will leave the body feeling weak, fatigued, and brittle, while similarly leaving the digestive and immune systems impaired and exhausted.
So let’s talk about minerals!
Growing up, your parents may have poured you big, cold glasses of milk and told you that it would help build strong bones and teeth. They weren’t wrong– but what do we do now to keep our calcium levels up as adults when our lactose tolerance just isn’t where it used to be? You can always get your dairy fix from a cup of yogurt– especially if it contains probiotics and active cultures to aid your digestive system. Here are some options outside of milk and cheese that you may not have known about:
- Chinese cabbage
Iron deficiency, while uncommon, is important to keep tabs on as it may suggest that you have anemia. Typically associated with a low body temperature and fragility of the outer skin layer (easy bruising), anemia leaves you feeling weak, tired, and cognitively slow. Keep the following items in your meals and get regular blood tests, and you won’t have to worry.
- Red Meat
While you may be cautious about eating too many bananas because you are afraid they may make you constipated, don’t let that get in the way of your potassium intake! Besides, a healthy balanced diet will help combat constipation no matter how many bananas you eat. Potassium is responsible for helping muscle contraction, proper heart function, nerve transmission, and energy production. Luckily, it is also found in a lot of different kinds of fruits and veggies– not just bananas– so it’s hard to miss. Potassium deficiency may even be part of the reason why your eczema may be flaring up– so watch out!
- Dark leafy greens
Zinc is most important in the formative stages of our lives, starting from pregnancy and extending into adolescence, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t need it as adults. Zinc helps heal wounds, synthesize DNA, heighten your immune system, and synthesize proteins. Loss of appetite, stunted growth, diarrhea, and weakened immune function are just a few symptoms of zinc deficiency, and even if you are not concerned about yourself, keep an eye out for your little ones! Make sure you’re putting some of these items on their plate.
- whole grains
- dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
The role of magnesium in the body is predominantly chemical. This mineral stabilizes blood glucose levels and blood pressure in addition to helping muscles and nerve function, brain function, energy metabolism, and protein production. Some medications and excessive alcohol can produce magnesium deficiency, which emerges as fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. There are a lot of magnesium-rich foods that you can easily find in your local supermarket, including:
- whole grains
- green leafy vegetables
So when you are taking your multivitamin in the morning, think about what meals you will be having throughout the day and make sure you’re getting in your essential minerals, too.