Blog Directory - Blogged foodliterate: Mighty Minerals

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mighty Minerals

I feel like I'm back from a sabbatical it has been so long since I last posted. No, I haven't abandoned my blog; I've just been trying to make time for all the commitments in my life! So before any more time elapses, let's get into our next topic - Minerals.

Minerals are part of the micronutrients our bodies need to keep running, especially those that have been defined as essential. The essential minerals actually outnumber the vitamins and amino acids our bodies require - surprising given how little we typically learn about them. Minerals were established as being essential way back around 1874, but that doesn't mean that scientists didn't recognize how important some of the minerals were before then; iron was known to be important around 1664, calcium around 1842 and sodium around 1849.

The list of essential minerals is usually broken further down into "major" and "trace"; obviously we need larger quantities of the major minerals and fewer of the trace minerals in our diet. The list includes: arsenic (trace), boron (trace), calcium (major), chloride (major), chromium (trace), cobalt (trace), copper (trace), fluoride (trace), iodine (trace), iron (trace), lithium (trace), magnesium (major), manganese (trace), molybdenum (trace), nickel (trace), phosphorus (major), potassium (major), selenium (trace), silicon (trace), sodium (major), vanadium (trace), and zinc (trace).

The roles minerals play within our bodies are varied; some are structural like calcium which strengthens bones, some are catalytic like zinc's involvement as a component of enzymes, and others play a role in signal transduction like sodium and potassium in muscle cells. Many of the minerals play multiple roles within the body - some of which I'll cover in the next few posts. And like with vitamins, it is important to remember that there is an issue with dose - as you may have observed, some of the essential minerals are toxic (especially lead & arsenic); more is not always better!

So I hope that you are still interested in becoming more food literate and I hope you will find learning about minerals interesting, so please check back soon. I'm going to start with the major minerals and work my way to the trace. And as always - I welcome questions & feedback, so don't be bashful - let me know what is on your mind!

1 comment:

Kylie T. said...

I love to study the different vitamins and minerals that make up our food. There are so many, each with a different purpose and role but I guess the best way to ensure we are getting all that our body needs is to eat a varied diet. More variety means more chance of getting the different vitamins and minerals we need.