To improve general health, except proteins and vitamins, it is necessary intake of minerals. They constitute the tissue fluids and cells, which has the role of building blocks and the role of biocatalysts.
Minerals which are part of our body are divided in:
- minerals that are found in large quantities in the body – macro elements (phosphorus and sulfur)
- minerals that are found in small quantities in the body – the trace elements.
How Minerals Affect on System Function
It’s necessary continuously intake of minerals through food (especially plant foods), because the body eject the minerals through sweating and other secretions.
Deficiency of some minerals in the body, can be caused as a consequence of improper diet and stressful life or long-term use of drugs, excessive drinking, smoking, large amounts of coffee etc.
Body needs of minerals, depends of the sex, age, health condition and diet of the individual.
Sulfur is a component of essential amino acids, vitamins (thiamin and biotin), polysaccharides and hormones. Soils with insufficient of sulfur can cause deficiency of sulfur and can endanger health conditions. Deficiency of sulfur results with health problems. Various and balanced diet can compensate all sulfur needs.
Phosphorus is a part of all cells and has a lot of physiological functions in the body. It is important for energy exchanging. With calcium, together are building blocks for bones and teeth. Phosphorus is an integral part of DNA and RNA, contributes maintaining of acid-base balance in body fluids. Phosphorus overdosing can cause increased excretion of calcium from the body, which cause brittle bones. In rare cases phosphorus is in deficiency. Foods rich in phosphorus are: meat, eggs, fish, cheeses, cereals, legumes etc.
Copper is an important part of many enzymes and is important for the metabolism of iron. It is also important for healthy immune system and for normal structure of connective tissue. Copper deficit is very rare. It is possible as a consequence of poisoning with copper sulphate. As a result of poisoning occurs vomiting, cramps and abdominal pain. Foods rich in copper are meat, legumes, nuts etc.
Iodine is an integral part of thyroid hormones: thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Thyroid hormones stimulate all cells in the body. Iodine is necessary for normal mental development and helps the ability of reproduction. Insufficient amount of thyroxine in childhood results with slower physical and mental development. Pregnant women that have deficit of iodine can give birth to children with mentall problems (cretinism). Iodine deficiency in adults manifests with increase of the thyroid gland (goiter). Excessive entered iodine in the body in healthy individuals is not absorb. Marine animals and iodized salt are best sources of iodine.
Iron is an important component of hemoglobin (which carries oxygen around the body in the red blood cells), myoglobin (a protein that carries oxygen in muscle tissue) and some enzymes. Iron is essential for normal function of the immune system. Iron deficiency develops slowly. Groups who are affected by this deficiency are: infants older than 6 months, adolescents, pregnant women, women during menstruation and old people. Blood losing can causes iron loss. Result is anemia and is manifest with these symptoms: lassitude, weakness, resistance to infection is reduced, there are difficulties in regulating body temperature. Excess of iron intake effect toxic. Symptoms of excessive intake include nausea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain. Foods rich in iron are: meat, fish, meats, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits etc. The human body easier absorbs Iron from foods of animal origin than those of plant origin.
Cobalt is an integral part of vitamin B 12. Deficit of cobalt can cause megaloblastic anemia. Excessive cobalt intake leads to polycythemia (excessive production of red blood cells). Foods rich in cobalt are: fish, oysters, organ meats, poultry etc.
Manganese is an integral part of antioxidant enzymes that protect the cells from free radicals. It also participates in the activation of other enzymes. Cases of manganese deficiency are rare. High intake for a long period can cause variety of neurological damages. Foods rich in manganese are: legumes, leafy vegetables, nuts, wholemeal flour etc.
Fluoride is essential for healthy bones and teeth (prevents cavities). In areas where the water is rare of fluoride, is necessary adding fluoride in small amounts in the water to prevent cavities. People who drink water or eat plants grown in soil rich in fluoride, can become ill from fluorosis. The consequence is appearance of lines fluorosis on their teeth. In difficult cases can cause thickening of the bones. Foods rich in fluorine are sea foods.
Calcium is the most comprehensive mineral in the human body. Calcium is a salts which directly affects bones and teeth strengths. Also, participates in the transmission of nerve impulses by providing heart rates – it is necessary for blood clotting and regulating the relationship between base and acid in the blood. Vitamin D plays a part in improving the absorption of calcium. Calcium deficiency leads to painful muscle cramps, nervous irritability, weak bones. Food reach in calcium is: nuts, legumes and oil seeds. Diet based on grains, vegetables and fruits, provides sufficient amounts of calcium.
Magnesium in the body is a part of the bones structure, less than calcium and phosphorus. Magnesium has an important role in many physiological processes. Deficiency of magnesium can be result of small content of magnesium in the soil. Foods rich in manganese: are legumes, leafy vegetables, nuts, wholemeal flour etc.
Zinc is an integral part of many enzymes. It is essential for cell division, that means zinc is important for growth and tissue repair. Also zinc is important for metabolism of nucleic acids, production of certain hormones, transport processes, proper immune system function and proper development of the reproductive system. Ointments and creams rich in zinc, are used in the skin diseases treatments. Zinc deficiency results with problems growth and development, mental retardation, slow wound healing, hair loss, losing sense of taste. High intake of zinc leads to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and anemia. Foods rich in copper are: shellfish, meat, eggs, dairy products, nuts, whole grains etc.