The word “mineral” means “mined from the earth”. Minerals are divided into two groups: metallic and non-metallic. In contrast to carbohydrates, fats, proteins and vitamins, minerals do not contain carbon and for this reason they are referred to as inorganic substances. The human organism needs more than 100 mg of minerals per day in order to be healthy. Other elements that are required in amounts less than 100 mg are known as trace elements and most of them are metals.
Approximately 20 minerals and trace elements are essential for the human metabolism. The body of the average adult contains about 3 kg of minerals and trace elements, and the significant part of this content is in the skeleton.
The content of minerals in the foods depends on the type of soil the food has been grown on. Mineral content can be reduces by acid rain or food processing, and this reduced content may cause mineral deficiency.
Minerals have many functions in the human body. Some of these functions are the following:
- Some minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphate make bones and teeth stronger.
- Sodium, potassium, calcium are important for maintenance of normal cell function.
- Copper, iron, selenium and other minerals are a co-factor for important enzymes.
- Iron participates in oxygen transport.
- Chromium and iodine are involved in hormone function.
- Selenium and manganese are known as antioxidants.
Make sure to include sufficient amounts of minerals in your diet as they will make you healthier and will help you maintain many important body functions.