What happens if you have enough Vitamin D – but not enough calcium?
The answer is a steady degradation of your bones and teeth, which will start to become fragile. Your hormone levels, too, start fluctuating, particularly those from the thyroid and parathyroid glands that help regulate calcium in the body.
Minerals like calcium are part of a set of micronutrients that the body requires only in small amounts – but that are essential for several bodily functions. People often overlook the need for minerals when they have adequate levels of vitamins, but the consequences of doing so can be considerable.
Here are fifteen minerals your body needs to stay healthy:
It is the most talked-about mineral, mostly used by our bones and teeth to make them strong. It also plays a role in ensuring normal blood clotting and regulating muscle contraction. Heartbeat, a vital indicator of heart function, is also governed by calcium.
Health authorities* recommend an average of 700 milligrams (mg)/day for an adult aged 19-64 years, and to keep it within 1,500 mg/day. Menopausal women face the risk of bone ailments and should take up to 1,200 mg/day of calcium. In case you are taking a calcium supplement, make sure that its levels are in check: Higher dosages can lead to irregular heartbeat and formation of kidney stones, while an extreme overdose for a long period can weaken the bones as well.
Your doctor may advise you to check the iron level to establish iron-deficiency anemia. Iron helps in the formation of hemoglobin – a protein that carries oxygen and transports it throughout the body by attaching itself to red blood cells.
Moreover, it also comes to play in boosting immune functions, wound healing, energy production and the growth and development of the body – to name a few. When it comes to the right amount to have, health authorities recommend 8 mg/day for adult men aged 19-70 years and women above 50 years. Women in the fertile age group of 19-50 years can have 18 mg/day.
Having high blood pressure? Your doctor may check your body’s potassium levels as the mineral helps to regulate your body’s fluid balance, and in turn, blood pressure. Moreover, your heart needs it for beating properly as potassium plays a role in muscle contraction. Nonetheless, it enables smooth functioning of the nervous system, production of proteins and carbohydrates as well as the growth and development of your body.
Though health authorities recommend 4.7 grams a day if you are in the age group of 19-70 years, exceeding this level can lead to irregular heart function, altered blood pressure, tightening of muscles and other problems. If you are on potassium supplements, plan your diet to meet your daily potassium requirement.
How minerals help your body and the foods you can get them from:
While that was about common minerals, we are not neglecting other minerals (details in the chart). It is ideal to fulfill everyday nutritional gaps of all minerals through diet in the interest of maintaining long-term health. Every mineral has a unique function, from maintaining the health of your heart to that of your brain, bone, blood, teeth, skin and hair.
|Minerals||Daily intake a||Functions||Foods|
|Calcium (Ca)||1,200 mg||Bone & teeth formation, blood clotting, muscle contraction & relaxation, heart function||Seafood, milk, dairy products, green vegetables, tofu, rice, almonds|
|Iron (Fe)||18 mg||RBC formation, reproduction, energy production, wound healing.||Spinach, kale, broccoli, beans, eggs, raisins, meats, nuts, poultry, seeds.|
|Potassium (K)||4,700 mg||Fluid balance, heart function, muscle contraction, BP regulation, protein formation, growth & development||Beans, dairy products, bananas, apricots, carrots, oranges, seafood, tomatoes, potatoes, spinach.|
|Sodium (Na)||2,300 mg||Acid-base balance, fluid balance, nervous system function, BP regulation.||Cheese, table salt, salty snacks, soups, chicken, egg dishes, pizza.|
|Chloride (Cl)||2,300 mg||Acid-base balance, fluid balance, nervous system function, digestion, energy conversion from food.||Olives, rye, table salt, tomatoes, lettuce, seaweeds.|
|Copper (Cu)||0.9 mg||Antioxidant, bone & collagen formation, iron production, energy production, nervous system function||Chocolates, cocoa, lentils, nuts, seeds, organ meats (liver), whole grains.|
|Selenium (Se)||55 mcg||Antioxidants, immune function, thyroid function, sperm health||Poultry, meats, nuts, seafood, whole grains.|
|Magnesium (Mg)||420 mg||Blood pressure & sugar regulation, heart rhythm, bone formation, energy production, nervous system function.||Beans, pulses, dairy products, bananas, raisins, nuts, seeds, potatoes, whole grain.|
|Zinc (Zn)||11 mg||Immune function, reproductive health, smell & taste, wound healing, nervous system function.||Dairy products, beans, nuts, poultry, fish, whole grains, beans, peas.|
|Chromium (Cr)||35 micrograms (mcg)||Insulin function, macronutrient production||Broccoli, apple, banana, grapes, oranges, meat, garlic, whole grains.|
|Iodine (I)||150 mcg||Thyroid function, fertility, growth & development, energy conversion & other bodily chemical reactions.||Iodised salt, seafood, seaweeds, dairy products, bread, fortified cereals|
|Molybdenum (Mo)||45 mcg||Enzyme production, processing of DNA material and proteins.||Beans, peas, whole grains, nuts, seeds.|
|Manganese (Mn)||2.3 mg||Cartilage & bone formation, breakdown of cholesterol, protein, & carbohydrates, wound healing.||Spinach, pineapple, sweet potato, whole grains, nuts, seeds, pineapple.|
|Fluoride (F)||3 mg||Teeth and bone health||Fluoridated water & toothpaste, grapes, raisins, spinach|
|Phosphorus (P)||1,250 mg||Bone formation, acid-base balance, energy production.||Dairy products, meat, nuts, seeds, poultry, whole grains.|
There might be exceptions for children, pregnant and lactating women and in certain medical conditions. It is always advised to consult a doctor or nutritionist regarding your daily mineral requirement and mineral-rich diet planning.
Daily intake is the upper borderline levels of minerals, not to be exceeded.
*mg is milligrams and mcg is micrograms.
The recommended amounts of vitamins have been referenced from UK’s National Health Services (NHS), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).