A mineral is a kind of micronutrient that is essential for good health. All minerals are inorganic substances absorbed from the earth by plants and cannot be produced by plants or animals.
The body utilizes over eighty of these chemicals. They are vital for the growth and production of bones, nails, hair, teeth, nerves, blood, vitamins, hormones and enzymes. In addition, they contribute to the healthy functioning of blood circulation, fluid regulation, nerve transmission, cellular integrity, muscle contraction and energy production.
Because the earth’s soil is now so nutrient depleted, even people who eat the healthiest foods often do not consume the required levels of minerals. This results in many kinds of illnesses, including energy loss, premature aging and degenerative diseases such as heart problems, bone disease and cancer.
Consequently, many people choose to take a supplement, which can provide some of the missing minerals. The risk of mineral deficiency can also be minimized through the consumption of a balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. Good sources of minerals other than fruits and vegetables include meats, nuts, beans and dairy products.
The following can serve as a rough guide for ensuring the adequate consumption of some of the most important minerals:
Calcium (Ca): This mineral is mainly found in dairy products, cereals, fruits and vegetables. Tinned fish such as sardines are excellent sources of Ca but are not eaten enough by most people. A sufficient intake of calcium may help to prevent osteoporosis.
Chromium (Cr): The richest dietary sources of Cr are spices such as black pepper and brewer’s yeast, raisins, mushrooms, prunes, nuts, beer, red wine and asparagus.
Copper (Cu): Foods high in Cu include kidney, liver, kidney, shellfish, nuts and wholegrain cereals.
Iodine: The condition of the soil contributes greatly to the concentration of iodine found in plants and animals across various regions of the world.
Iron: Meat provides one of the richest sources of iron. Vegetables and cereals also provide iron, but in low concentrations. A good iron intake is particularly important for menstruating women.
Magnesium (Mg): Mg is widely distributed in plant and animal foods, especially legumes, nuts, green vegetables, chocolate and cereals.
Manganese (Mn): Relatively high concentrations of Mn have been found in tea, brown bread, nuts, ginger and cereals. The concentration of Mn in crops depends largely on soil quality.
Selenium (Se): Cereals, seafood and meat products are the best sources of Se and are the main contributors to the daily Se intake. Most vegetables and fruits are relatively low in this mineral.
Zinc (Zn): The Zn content of foods varies from exceptionally high levels in oysters, to negligible in refined foods or those with a high fat content. The best animal source of Zn is found in lean red meat, which has at least twice that of chicken. Cereals and wholegrain foods also provide some zinc.
Without an adequate intake of minerals, the body ceases to function. Give your body the best possible chance to operate at an optimal level of health by making sure you consume plenty. Thankfully, the rainforest comes up trumps again. It seems that some rainforest fruits, like the acai berry, are packed full of minerals and are probably some of the best natural ways for people to boost their mineral intake. No wonder rainforest fruits like the acai are hailed as super foods!