Just like the extensive list of vitamins we know all about, minerals are also essential for optimal health and wellbeing in all humans.
Essential minerals are as follows:
These are the most important minerals for our health and development so it’s important that we incorporate foods containing these minerals into our diets as much as possible. Essential minerals help us to grow, regenerate cells, form strong bones, muscles, organs and skin, as well as fighting infections in the body.
Different cross sections of our population require different minerals for varying purposes, for instance, a pregnant woman will require minerals that aren’t as important for an infant or toddler, and vice versa. The best way to ensure you and your family are getting enough essential minerals is to eat a wide variety of fresh foods from the five food main groups:
- Vegetables, beans and legumes
- Grain foods
- Lean meats and poultry, fish, tofu, eggs and nuts
- Milk, cheese and yoghurt
Found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, leafy green veggies, pulses and nuts, iron is absolutely imperative for pregnant women as it helps to fight infection, reduce anemia and fatigue. It can also assist with birth related complications such as premature birth or low birth weight.
This mineral is naturally occurring in dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt and also cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale. Calcium is important for building strong bones and soft tissue. If you’re not getting enough of this mineral during pregnancy, your body takes it from your bones and gives it to the baby, which can ultimately cause you health problems like osteoporosis.
Found in fish, dairy products, fortified cereals and breads, and iodized salt, iodine is important for the production of thyroid hormones that help your body to extract and use energy from food.
New born babies
This is without a doubt the most important of the essential minerals that a new born baby needs in the first few months of their life. Iron is imperative in a newborns’ system as it helps the immune system to fight off infections. This nutrient will be passed on from the mother through breastfeeding. Alternatively good quality baby formulas will have iron and other important minerals present.
Calcium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc
These are the main essential minerals that are important for toddlers growth and development. These minerals are easily available when a balanced diet is in place - this diet should include dairy products, meat and poultry, leafy green vegetables, fruit, eggs, wholegrain cereals, pulses and nuts.
In conclusion, essential minerals are very important for anyone wanting to lead a healthy and happy life. In particular, women who are pregnant, newborns and toddlers all require specific essential minerals that are able to be found in a well balanced nutritional diet.