What Do Minerals Do in Your Body?

by | Jan 27, 2023 | Issue 163, Issues | 0 comments

A person sits on the couch after a long day at work, drinking some mineral water. Everyone at work has gotten sick, except for them. They think of all...

A person sits on the couch after a long day at work, drinking some mineral water. Everyone at work has gotten sick, except for them. They think of all the possible ways they’ve managed to avoid getting sick but can’t quite put their finger on how, except … maybe it’s because they’ve had mineral-rich foods the whole week. 

This scenario, although fictional, exemplifies how vital minerals are to the human body in fighting illnesses, promoting digestive health and strengthening muscles and bones.


What Are Minerals? 

Minerals are essential substances that aid the body’s development, growth and function. Central to these functions is the minerals’ help in resisting infections and gathering energy from foods. Minerals are found in all sorts of food and beverages. They can even be found in water!

Sometimes vitamins and minerals can get confused with one another, but they aren’t the same thing. Vitamins are necessary for bodily function, whereas minerals are essential to building bones, regulating the heartbeat and flow of blood, as well as strengthening muscles, brain function and hormones. 


Are Minerals Organic?

Minerals are naturally occurring, inorganic compounds with a definite chemical composition and atomic structure. While minerals are inorganic compounds, they are often bonded to carbon atoms in their purest forms, which makes them easily digestible. 


What Minerals Are Found in Water?

Water contains a ton of minerals, such as zinc, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and bicarbonate, each with its specific properties. When a person is dehydrated, the body lacks electrolytes comprising sodium, potassium and magnesium. Electrolytes help regulate normal body functions, such as regulating body temperature, production of cells and aiding in digestion.


How Important Are Minerals to Us? 

In addition to these properties, learning about minerals is essential simply because they are omnipresent in our daily foods. Certain foods have certain minerals, which can serve different purposes throughout the body! Minerals are crucial to healthy development, especially during pregnancy and infancy. They can repair bones, support healthy immunity and facilitate hair growth.

Minerals have a variety of functions, such as the mineral calcium, which strengthens bones, teeth, muscles and blood vessels. In addition to its strengthening properties, calcium also helps release hormones and enzymes to regulate 

Many minerals are found throughout the body. For example, calcium is generally located in the bones and the teeth. Calcium is obtained through foods such as milk, collard greens and yogurt. So now, Mom reminding everyone at the breakfast table to drink milk makes more sense!


Different Types of Minerals for the Body

  • Iodine is an essential mineral for hormonal function. It controls metabolism, aids in making thyroid hormones and is crucial for bone and brain development. 
  • Iron aids in cell growth and development and regulates bodily functions. 
  • Phosphorus maintains healthy bones, blood cells and muscles. It is typically found in protein-rich foods such as meat or nuts.
  • Potassium is vital to helping cells, nerves and muscles function, regulating blood pressure and aiding in digestion. It can be found in bananas. 
  • Selenium is vital to maintain a healthy reproductive system and endocrine system and aids in DNA production. 
  • Zinc aids the body in the fight against infection and assists in digestion and DNA production.


The Most Important Minerals for the Body

Some of the essential minerals for the body include:

  • Calcium, for bone health;
  • Sodium, for muscle contractions;
  • Chloride maintains the balance of bodily fluids;
  • Magnesium maintains heart health and brain functions; 
  • Copper forms red blood cells. 

These minerals all promote organ function, healthy growth and vital organ protection against diseases. Make sure to eat a varied diet to get these minerals in your body!


What Minerals Do I Need for Hair Growth?

Maybe you’re worried about your hair falling out, or you stare at the mirror every day wondering why it looks so dull. The issue may be a lack of minerals, such as iron, zinc and iodine. These compounds help lengthen, strengthen and produce healthier and fuller hair. Take care to eat foods rich in these minerals. 


How Many Minerals Do We Need a Day?

While you should eat some minerals in large quantities, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, other minerals, such as iodine and fluoride, work best in smaller quantities


Here are some examples of minerals and the suggested intake each day: 

  • Calcium: At least 1000 milligrams daily.
  • Fluoride: At least 3 milligrams for women and 4 milligrams for men daily.
  • Iron: At least 18 milligrams for women and 8 milligrams for men daily.
  • Magnesium: At least 310 milligrams for women and 400 milligrams for men daily.
  • Sodium: At least 1500 milligrams each day.

It’s essential to ensure you are taking only the required amount of minerals because while they are healthy, they aren’t healthful in excess.


A Parting Reminder

Minerals are essential when factoring in how to keep the body healthy. They help the body in many ways, including maintaining healthy hair and even helping grow hair, fight infections or prevent illnesses. Therefore, it’s vital to know how many minerals are necessary to consume each day, as well as which minerals to consume for a healthy, balanced intake. 

Minerals are found everywhere, and it’s important to understand where they are, how they work and what they do. Spend time reading labels to learn more about what minerals certain foods contain and how much intake is appropriate. Talk with your doctor to understand what’s best for you. Now, enjoy a glass of milk and get that calcium!

Adreana Mendez

Adreana Mendez


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