- National Nutrition Week is observed from 1st September to 7th
- Trace minerals are required for proper functioning of the body
- You must ensure that you are consuming a well balanced diet
Minerals are inorganic substances required by the body in small amounts for a various functions. While the importance of macro minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium etc is widely known by now but there are a few trace elements that still remain abstruse. They are known as trace minerals as these are required in very tiny amounts, yet they are crucial as catalysts for enzymatic, chemical and metabolic reactions in the body.
National Nutrition Week 2020: Trace minerals you should add to your diet
This is one commonly known trace mineral that is important right from the conception stage till old age. It is a vital component for production of fresh blood cells and helps transport oxygen to cells and tissues. Deficiency can cause anemia, fatigue. Women need it more than men during their reproductive years. Food sources include raisins, dates, dark leafy vegetables, baked potatoes. One can enhance the iron content of food by cooking in cast iron vessels. While most minerals compete with iron for absorption, Vitamin C can enhance the same.
You may be surprised to know that chromium levels affect insulin action and glucose metabolism. It stimulates cholesterol synthesis and brain function. Deficiency can lead to impaired insulin function and cardiac irregularities. Food sources are whole grains, dairy, apples, bananas, poultry, egg yolk, brewer’s yeast etc. Chromium supplements are commonly prescribed to people with heart issues, diabetes and those trying to lose weight.
Yes, the ancient Indian ritual of having copper charged water in the morning has a sound scientific backing. Copper supports healthy bones and cartilage, aids iron metabolism and helps boost melanin formation. Its deficiency can cause muscle weakness, decreased white blood cell count and neurological issues. Food sources include chocolate, organ meats, legumes, nuts and seeds.
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It is essential for optimal thyroid function that encompasses growth, development and boosts metabolism. Iodine deficiency causes the thyroid gland enlargement known as goiter. Food sources of iron may include seafood, foods grown in iodine-rich soil, fortified salt and dairy products.
Other than iodine, selenium supports your thyroid function. Apart from regulating thyroid function, selenium also plays an important role in antioxidant build-up. Inadequate selenium can lead to mental fog, infertility, hair loss and impaired thyroid function turning into an autoimmune condition. Food sources include seafood, meats, dairy, eggs, mushroom, peas, potatoes and brown rice.
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Zinc helps boost immunity, fertility and is an important part of many enzymes and supports fetal development. Insufficient zinc can cause hair fall, decline in sperm motility, growth retardation and compromised immunity. It’s found in seeds, fish, poultry, some wholegrains and beans.
It aids in the formation of bones and teeth. Fluoride also prevents tooth decay by re-mineralizing the damaged tooth enamel, which is why it is present in toothpaste. Other sources are of fluoride are black tea, spinach, potatoes and fortified drinking water. However, one must be careful about going overboard with this mineral.
It plays a crucial role in digestion and breakdown of protein and carbohydrates. Manganese activates enzyme that boost metabolism and promotes strong, dense bones. Manganese deficiency can cause impaired growth and reproductive function, skeletal abnormalities and affected lipid metabolism. The human body cannot produce it but it is stored in kidneys, brain, liver, pancreas and bones. It is usually found in seafood, soybeans, legumes, wholegrains, coffee, tea, black pepper and pineapple.
It helps form enzymes that aid in detoxification and regulate growth and development. Deficiency can affect seriously in the form of seizures, eye lens dislocation and intellectual disability. Common food sources include legumes, liver, nuts, milk and breads.
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The above mentioned are a few essential trace minerals, there are others too like lithium, nickel, aluminum etc the need for which is unclear yet.
(Mansi Chaudhary is a Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, Nutrigenomics Expert and a Holistic Cancer Coach.)
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