My mother is one of those mothers who as a small child would consistently persuade me to eat. I was so picky, even picky kids were good eaters compared to me. I had just a few foods I would eat and none of those were ones that are commonly served at home. Over and over my mom would tell me “eat your food to get vitamins and minerals”. Eat, what to get what? I didn’t care. What exactly are minerals though?
Minerals work together with vitamins to help our bodies with optimal development. Some of our structure depends on minerals. For example, our nails and bones need minerals to stay strong and firm. Can you imagine walking with bones that feel like jello?
For some minerals, we only need very small quantities of it. In fact, our entire body contains only a small percentage – about 4%. Minerals can complement other minerals in order to be effective. For example, calcium needs phosphorus to maximize its bone-building capability.
If you live where food is relatively easy to obtain, and have no eating difficulties you are likely to be getting adequate minerals. However, it is a good idea to make a mental note about the foods you are eating. Let me also add that highly processed food might contain very small amounts of essential minerals.
If you do need a boost as aging might increase your need for some minerals, supplements are also helpful. Ideally, all your vitamin and mineral needs will be satisfied by eating natural foods, but your life might make it challenging. Trace minerals can be added in small quantities to your water. Other supplements are taken directly by mouth.
It is also a good idea to know how much of each mineral your body needs? The Institute of medicine has created a guideline shown below.
|Calcium (mg)||RDA||700||1,000||1,000||1,300||1,300||1,300||1,300||1,000||1,000||1,000||1,000||1,200||1,000 (1,200 for 71+)|
- RDA – Refers to the recommended dietary allowances needed daily for good health
- AI = Adequate Intake – used when the RDA cannot be determined
- UL = Tolerable Upper Intake Level. This is the maximum amount of the mineral you should take in a day.