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Essential Minerals in our Food


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Essential Minerals in our Food

Essential minerals in or food
The human body is an amazing machine with millions of biochemical reactions taking place whether we are awake or sleeping. Today we will focus on minerals and trace elements.

Minerals and trace elements are chemicals required for our body’s biochemical processes. Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium are some examples of minerals that our body cannot make and is only available through food. Trace elements include Zinc, Copper, Chromium, Selenium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Cobalt and Iodine. The reason they are known as trace elements is because the amount required by our body is extremely small. 

These minerals come together for critical daily functions: Zinc, Iodine, Copper and Cobalt are important for protein and bone formation while Molybdenum and Selenium helps to prevent toxins and free radicals from building up in our body. Manganese is vital for the metabolism of protein and carbohydrate while Chromium helps insulin to regulate blood sugar

Today, let’s examine foods rich in minerals and trace elements. As always, pay the farmer, not the pharmacy!

Nuts: not just an omega-3 source, also high on essential minerals

Most of the commonly-eaten nuts provide magnesium in good quantities, and in addition, almonds, peanuts & pistachios are high in potassium, walnuts in phosphorus, brazil nuts in selenium, the list goes on. So it’s best to eat a combination of nuts daily, to get in all the minerals you need. Interestingly, roasting nuts doesn’t diminish minerals, so no worries there. But roast dry to be healthier, avoid the oil & salt.

Legumes : good source of the key minerals

The legume family – beans and lentils – provide more than fiber and protein. They’re also a good source of important minerals like iron, manganese, potassium, folates, zinc and more. To get a greater range of minerals, include a variety of beans & lentils in your diet. Beans contain phytic acids that inhibit full mineral absorption by the body, so soak overnight and discard the soaking water, as that eliminates the acids.

Leafy vegetables are a rich source of potassium

Potassium is a crucial mineral that regulates the fluid balance in cells, keeps muscle and nerves healthy, reduces blood pressure and the risk of strokes or heart attacks and cleanses the kidneys. Leafy green vegetables like Swiss Chard, Spinach, Bok Choy and Brussels Sprouts are excellent sources of potassium. Try steaming them without too much water, so you keep the nutrients more intact and bioavailable. 

Whole grains deliver more than just carbohydrates

We tend to forget that the bran and germ in wholegrains also deliver beneficial minerals. Popcorn is one example which contains a high amount of magnesium and fiber. Magnesium is like the unsung hero of the movie – it doesn’t get the same attention as other minerals but is involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions in our body. Magnesium also encourages secretion of parathyroid hormones that are essential for calcium absorption, leading to strong bone health.