Understanding Macro Minerals For Better Health

It’s important to know that there are two different categories of minerals: Micro Minerals, or Trace Minerals, that you need in smaller quantities (usually less the 100 milligrams a day) and Macro Minerals that are the opposite and needed in larger quantities daily for optimal health. Where once we were content to understand the difference and significance of both vitamins and minerals, we now understand that not all minerals are alike.

What Are Macro Minerals?

Dietary Macro Minerals are inorganic substances that our bodies are unable to produce on their own. You’ll need to eat a variety of healthy foods to receive the optimal FDA recommended amount of each. In some cases, you may find it difficult to get all of these minerals from just your regular diet. Most multivitamins are very effective in helping supplement the nutrients you are getting from food. Since supplements come in a variety of strengths and forms, consult your personal physician for a supplement that will work best for your specific needs.

The major group of Macro Minerals include:

Calcium

Calcium is found in our bones and teeth. The FDA recommends the average person get 1000 milligrams per day. Foods rich in Calcium include:

  • dairy products
  • nuts
  • seeds 
  • green leafy vegetables

Calcium is the largest mineral found in our bodies and is insoluble so it requires the presence of vitamin D to be absorbed in the intestines.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is found in our bones and teeth. The FDA recommends the average person get 700 milligrams per day. Foods rich in Phosphorus include:

  • meats
  • dairy
  • fish
  • eggs

Magnesium

Magnesium is found in the enzyme reactions in our body. The FDA recommends the average person get 420 milligrams per day. Foods rich in Magnesium include:

  • nuts
  • soybeans
  • cocoa

Potassium

Potassium is an electrolyte found in our blood. The FDA recommends the average person get 4700 milligrams per day. Foods rich in Potassium include:

  • bananas
  • tomatoes
  • prunes 
  • cantaloupe

An increase in Potassium before exercise can help protect athletes from muscle cramps.

Chloride 

Chloride is found in our cells, but most is present in the extracellular fluid in the body. The FDA recommends the average person get 2300 milligrams per day. Foods rich in Chloride include:

  • table salt
  • tomatoes
  • olives 
  • celery

Chloride is a soluble mineral. Deficiencies in Chloride can contribute to leg cramps.

Sodium

Sodium is found in our cells, particularly the red blood cells but most is present in the extracellular fluid in the body. The FDA recommends the average person get 1500 milligrams per day. Foods rich in Sodium include:

  • salt
  • milk 
  • spinach

While Sodium is necessary for healthy living, a diet too high in Sodium can lead to health issues like hypertension and high blood pressure.

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