Minerals Health Topic
Learn More About Minerals
Dietary Minerals on Wikipedia
Dietary minerals are the chemical elements required by living organisms. The dietary focus on minerals derives from an interest in supporting biochemical reactions with the required elemental components. Appropriate intake levels of certain chemical elements are thus required to maintain optimal health.
Minerals on MedLine Plus
There are two kinds of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals are minerals your body needs in larger amounts. Your body needs just small amounts of trace minerals.
The Role of Minerals in the Body
Minerals are basically the spark plugs of life, or keystones to our health. Minerals are the catalysts that keep our battery going and hold it's charge. We cannot produce minerals within our bodies, so we must obtain them through our food. Minerals act as cofactors for enzyme reactions. Enzymes don't work without minerals. All cells require enzymes to work and function. Minerals maintain the pH balance within the body, facilitate the transfer of nutrients across cell membranes, maintain proper nerve conduction, help to contract and relax muscles, help to regulate our bodies tissue growth, and provide structural and functional support for the body.
Why Do We Need to Eat Minerals?
Minerals are inorganic substances meaning that they occur naturally in non-living things such as water, rocks and soil. Plants get minerals through the soil and water they absorb, animals ingest minerals from eating plants and other animals as well as from drinking and we humans ingest minerals from the food that we eat and from drinking. Minerals are needed for the body to work properly, for growth and development, and overall, for maintaining normal health. Minerals are grouped depending on how much they are needed on a daily basis. Minerals that are needed more in bigger amounts on a daily basis are known as the macro-minerals or major minerals. The minerals that are needed less and in smaller amounts are known as micro-minerals or trace elements. Sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium are known as the "electrolytes" as they are minerals which dissolve in water and form electrically charged particles called "ions". Those ions are essential for transmitting electrical impulses along nerves and for muscle contraction.
Minerals and Their Functions and Sources (WebMD)
Contains a list of each macro and micro mineral along with its function and dietary food source.
Minerals are Essential Nutrients for the Human Body
It was the French scientist Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794) who discovered that the building blocks of chemical components (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) consist of the elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. His theories paved the way for future discoveries about the building blocks of cells. It was soon revealed that all organisms are built from the same six essential elemental ingredients: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. The human body also contains inorganic compounds (called minerals) to support life processes. All bodily processes depend upon the action and presence of minerals. They are building blocks of our skeleton, cells and tissues, as well as important components of enzymes, vitamins and hormones. When dissolved in a watery substance, minerals maintain fluid balance within body cells and acidity levels. Approximately 4% of the human body consists of minerals. Because your body cannot make minerals, they must come from your diet. Minerals are therefore essential nutrients. At least 18 of them are considered crucial in our diet.
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