Have you ever had a few leg cramps and figured, “I just get those from time to time” ? What about poor fingernail growth or restless nights? While these daily observances can be easily written off when it doesn’t interrupt your busy day, the reality is that they are your body’s way of alerting you of potential bigger problems.
While the best way to know your mineral levels is to take a blood test, that shouldn’t stop you from learning about some of the deficiencies and their potential warning signs. Naturally, we made a (handy, attractive, pragmatic) list:
6 Minerals: Importance, deficiency signs, and foods with them
- Why it’s important: Plays an important role in the function of the cells brain (mitochondria). Involved in many biochemical reactions in the body, helping maintain normal heart rhythm, immune system, and muscle function. Low magnesium levels are linked with a variety of conditions, including hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis, and poorly controlled diabetes.
- Signs you could be deficient: Body odor, constipation, muscle cramps, insomnia, headaches, and fatigue.
- Foods that have it: Dark, leafy greens like spinach and swiss chard, nuts and seeds, mackerel, lima beans.
- Why it’s important: A mineral and electrolyte. A key component of cells and bones and plays a large role in calcium regulation (healthy bones and teeth). Abnormal phosphorus can mean abnormalities in the bones, calcium, or in electrolyte balance.
- Signs you could be deficient: Loss of appetite, anxiety, bone pain, fragile bones, stiff joints, fatigue, irregular breathing, irritability, numbness, weakness, and weight change.
- Foods that have it: Protein rich foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, and legumes are good sources of phosphorus.
- Why it’s important: Zinc is needed for normal growth, development, and sexual maturation, and helps regulate appetite, stress level, and sense of taste and smell. It also has antioxidant properties and plays an essential role in the immune system.
- Signs you could be deficient: Growth and development problems, hair loss, diarrhea, impotence, eye and skin conditions, and loss of appetite. Other symptoms may include weight loss, delayed wound healing, taste changes, and mental slowness.
- Foods that have it: Beef and lamb, liver, spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, chicken.
- Why it’s important: A mineral and electrolyte found in your bones as well as in your blood. Crucial for maintaining proper nerve and heart function, blood clotting, and muscle contraction.
- Signs you could be deficient: Severe calcium deficiency can produce signs and symptoms of confusion and memory loss. A low blood calcium level can affect the functions of the nervous system and result in mental confusion, hallucinations, and delusions as well as memory
- Foods that have it: Dairy products (milk, yogurt, and cheese), sardines, vegetables (Cabbage, kale, and broccoli).
- Why it’s important: The tiny amount you need is crucial to normal body functions. If you do not have enough iron, your body cannot make hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cell (may cause anemia -a disorder that occurs when there is not enough hemoglobin in the blood).
- Signs you could be deficient: Symptoms of anemia include: Feeling tired, difficulty breathing, dizziness, headaches, feeling cold.
- Foods that have it: Meat, seafood, poultry, beans, peas and dark, green leafy vegetables.
- Why it’s important: Potassium helps maintain the correct balance of fluid in the body as well as the right chemical balance of acids and bases. Potassium triggers muscle contractions, including heart muscle contractions. The balance of potassium with other electrolytes is the key to assessing optimal electrolyte function.
- Signs you could be deficient: Weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps, constipation.
- Foods that have it: Citrus fruits, apples, bananas, apricots, cantaloupe, potatoes (especially with the skin), tomatoes, spinach, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, beans, peas, and almonds.
What’s the best way to get my micronutrients?
It’s highly recommended to get your minerals from eating whole, fresh foods, because of the greater nutritional value, fibre, and phytochemicals.
Need more? ProfetaHealth have products containing– magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. Consult a professional and have a look at our products here