Magical minerals — what are they?
When we talk about health, how many times have you heard the word ‘vitamins’ quickly followed by the word ‘minerals’?
We say it so often when discussing food in relation to how healthy something is for us — but do we really know what minerals are?
by Rebecca Giorgilli
A year ago
In a previous journal entry of ours, we discussed, in detail, what vitamins were and how each one, from A to K, affected our body and skin.
So now, let's delve into the wonderful world of minerals.
What are minerals?
Minerals are elements found on the earth and in our food that our bodies require to develop and function normally.
Your body uses minerals for a variety of jobs, including maintaining the health of your bones, muscles, heart and brain.
There are two kinds of minerals, macrominerals and trace minerals. You need more of the macromineral variety in your diet and they include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulphur.
As the name suggests, you only need to intake small amounts of trace minerals. They are iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium.
It all seems like so much to be keeping track of, but truth be told, much of these are in your natural diet already. Let’s have a look at where we find them all, shall we!
Where can we find minerals and what do they do?
Instead of writing long and in-depth paragraphs on what each mineral does for you and where you find it, we thought it would be more simple to place all of this information into two helpful tables:
|Mineral||Needed For||Good Sources|
|Calcium||Healthy bones and teeth, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, blood clotting, production of energy, immunity to disease.||Dairy products, green leafy vegetables.|
|Chlorine||Maintaining body’s fluid and electrolyte balances, digestive juices.||Table salt.|
|Magnesium||Every major biologic process, use of glucose in the body, synthesis of nucleic acids and protein, cellular energy.||Green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, beans, whole grains.|
|Phosphorus||Strong bones, all cell functions, cell membranes.||Dairy products, fish, meats, poultry, vegetables, eggs.|
|Potassium||Many major biologic processes, muscle contraction, nerve impulses, synthesis of nucleic acids and protein, energy production.||Fresh vegetables, fresh fruits.|
|Sodium||Water balance in tissues.||Table salt, added to foods by manufacturer.|
|Sulphur||Sulphur-containing amino acids.||Onions, garlic, eggs, meat, dairy products.|
|Trace Mineral||Needed For||Good Sources|
|Chromium||Use of sugar in the body.||Whole grains, spices, meats, brewer’s yeast.|
|Copper||Haemoglobin synthesis and function; production of collagen, elastin, neurotransmitters; melanin formation.||Organ meats, shellfish, nuts, fruits.|
|Fluorine||Binding calcium in bones and teeth.||Fluoridated water.|
|Seafood, iodised salt.|
|Iron||Haemoglobin synthesis and function; enzyme actions in energy production; production of collagen, elastin, neurotransmitters.||Organ meats, meat, poultry, fish.|
|Manganese||Functions not entirely understood, but needed for optimal health.||Whole grains, nuts.|
|Molybdenum||Functions not entirely understood, but needed for optimal health; detoxification of hazardous substances.||Organ meats, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, milk, beans.|
|Selenium||Functions not entirely understood, but necessary for optimal health.||Broccoli, cabbage, celery, onions, garlic, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, organ meats.|
|Zinc||Immunity and healing, good eyesight, hundreds of enzyme activities.||Whole grains, brewer’s yeast, fish, meats.|
How do minerals help our skin?
Don’t worry, no more tables! Instead, let’s talk about how minerals can help our skin stay healthy.
They all help in their own way, but there are three major minerals that really impact our skin.
This mineral is believed to play a key role in skin cancer prevention. When applied to the skin, it actually protects your body’s largest organ from burning. If you don’t want to add to your daily skin routine, you can ingest selenium by eating whole-grain cereals, seafood, garlic and eggs.
Yep, you read it right. Believe it or not, together with Vitamin C, copper helps develop elastin. These are the fibres that support the skin’s natural structure and help restore elasticity. Don’t worry, you find trace amounts of copper naturally in food, so you don’t need to rub some copper wiring on your face!
Lastly there's zinc. This mineral is more important if you suffer from acne, because it actively works to clear the skin by reducing oil production. It’s not the most natural of ways to heal acne lesions, however, in some extreme cases, it is proven to be beneficial. Zinc can also be found in your food by the way, in the shape of oysters, lean meat and poultry.
At Thalia, we understand the important role minerals play on the health of our skin. This is why both our Cleansing Truth and Awakening Serumcontain strengthening minerals to curb the formation of acne, awaken the skin and restore luminosity.
How do we know if we’re not getting enough minerals?
It’s often really hard to know whether your body is craving a specific mineral — I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we had some sort of gauge-like thing on our bodies that told us if we were running low on something — like a car with petrol!?
Believe it or not, your body does speak to you — you just have to know what the signs are.
Before we get started on the physical and mental signs, if you know you have a diet that is high in junk food, or low in fruit and vegetables, then you’re off to a bad start. Alternatively, a very low-calorie diet and weight loss programs can also cause a mineral deficiency.
If you are a vegetarian, vegan or lactose intolerant, it’s important to do some research into the minerals you may be missing out on without meat and/or dairy. You can find nearly all the minerals you need in a plant-based diet — you just need to be cooking more, lentils, for example.
Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant or not, let’s take a look at the most common mineral deficiencies and their respective side-effects.
If you’re feeling under the weather a lot, it may be because you’re not getting enough zinc, because a deficiency leads to a decreased function of the immune system, as well as loss of appetite, taste or smell.
In terms of our skin, zinc is pretty crucial. So, just moderate zinc deficiency can cause pigmentation changes, decreased hair and nail growth, and skin lesions on body sites exposed to repeated pressure and friction.
Given the large array of foods that calcium is present in, it’s quite hard to miss this one out. However, the slight issue with calcium is that a deficiency doesn’t really reveal itself in the short term. This means people generally feel the effects later on in life in the form of decreased bone mineral density called osteopenia.
If left untreated, osteopenia can turn to osteoporosis, which increases the risk of bone fractures, especially in older adults.
This is the main mineral which vegetarians and vegans miss out on, because the best sources of iron are found in meat, poultry or fish. If you are meat-free you need to be eating plenty of beans, lentils, fermented tofu or seeds to fill the gap.
Like calcium, iron deficiency develops slowly and, over time, can cause anaemia. The most obvious initial sign of iron deficiency, though, is feeling weak and tired.
Magnesium deficiency is pretty uncommon, and extreme cases normally stem from conditions like alcoholism. But early signs you’re not getting quite enough magnesium are shown in symptoms like fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
The most common cause of potassium deficiency doesn’t actually come from diet — it comes from a loss in fluids. This is why, when you sweat during long sessions of exercise, you feel weak and your muscles start cramping.
Other symptoms of potassium deficiency show up as constipation, bloating, or abdominal pain.
Before we round off the topic of minerals, we need to look at mineral water, because you’d be surprised how many people ask google: ‘is mineral water good for you?’
First let's answer the question of: ‘what is mineral water?’ Well, to qualify, the water needs to have a certain amount of minerals dissolved into it and come from a “geologically and physically protected underground water source.”
Mineral water usually contains minerals like magnesium, calcium, sodium, zinc, and even calcium — and they do (as we now know) give some legitimate health benefits.
As a result of this, mineral water, among other things, can actually promote healthy bone development and digestion. So maybe it is worth paying extra for all those San Pellegrino bottles?
The only situation where a large amount of mineral water may be bad for you is if you have high blood pressure because of the water’s high sodium content. Other than that you’re pretty much free to drink as much as you’d like.
To your blossoming xxx
Texas Heart - https://www.texasheart.org