The Three Major Minerals We Need Every Day

August 16, 2019

The mineral balance inside your body plays a crucial role in overall health. From optimal fluid balance, to proper nervous system health and muscle functioning, to anxiety and migraine relief, maintaining mineral balance is imperative to feeling our best.

While so much attention is often put on getting enough vitamins in the foods we eat, minerals are just as important, and many of us are mineral deficient. In this article, we will break down exactly what you need to know about potassium, magnesium, and calcium, and the major role they play in supporting best body balance. This article will also review the best food sources that provide these minerals in abundance, and the steps you can take to ensure you consume enough of them in your diet.

Minerals: What Do They Do?

First, when talking about minerals, it’s important to know that there’s a difference between trace minerals and major minerals. Major minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium are found in larger amounts in the body compared to trace minerals like iron, chromium, manganese, and zinc, which exist in smaller amounts.

The major minerals we are talking about (potassium, magnesium, and calcium) are extremely important for many different functions in the body.

Here are a few reasons we need to make sure we are getting enough minerals in our diet.

  • Minerals can help support fluid balance.
  • Minerals are essential for the health of our bones and teeth.
  • Our nervous system depends on the right balance of minerals in order to function properly.
  • Optimal mineral balance is needed for muscle contractions.

Let’s take a closer look at the three major minerals, and why we need these to help support overall health.

Calcium

We often think about the health of our bones and teeth when talking about calcium, but calcium does so much more. The body requires enough calcium for nervous system and muscle function, and for blood clotting. Calcium also acts as a co-factor for various different enzymes, and without enough calcium, these enzymes will not work properly.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to calcium is that we need to make sure we are getting enough vitamin D3 with it,  as vitamin D aids the proper absorption of our calcium, and vitamin K2 makes sure the calcium is directed to bones and teeth, and away from joints and arteries. 

Potassium

We need potassium for optimal fluid balance, nervous system function, and normal muscle contractions in the body. Potassium also plays a role in supporting normal heart rhythms and may help reduce high blood pressure. Potassium has also been found to help reduce fluid retention in the body. We need to make sure that we have the right balance of potassium, as too much or too little can lead to health issues, and can cause abnormal heart rhythms.

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency can lead to a whole slew of health issues as well. In fact, magnesium deficiency has been linked to things like certain gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and even diabetes. Magnesium is super important as it plays a role in nerve impulses, muscle contractions, blood sugar, and blood pressure regulation, and even helps support bone health.

Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency can include fatigue, muscle cramps, high blood pressure, nausea, tingling in the extremities, and abnormal heart rhythms.

Getting enough magnesium in either dietary or supplement form may even be able to help those with anxiety, those who are prone to migraine headaches, and those who may have difficulty sleeping. You gotta love magnesium!

How to Get Minerals From Diet

With minerals being so important for overall health, we need to make sure that we are getting enough in our diet where that’s possible. The great news is that getting enough of each mineral is not very hard to do if you follow a basic anti-inflammatory diet. This diet includes a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods, so if you’re following it, chances are you will be getting plenty of minerals from the foods you eat.  

Keep in mind that you want to stick to whole and nutrient-dense foods. Stay away from refined and packaged food products, even if they say they are “fortified with vitamins and minerals.” Often these are not very absorbable or they include cheap synthetic forms of these nutrients. So stick to the real thing by consuming the following whole foods.

Best Sources of Potassium

  • Dates
  • Prunes
  • Apricots
  • Lima beans
  • Navy beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Lentils
  • Molasses

Best Sources of Magnesium

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Legumes
  • Avocados
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Spinach
  • 70% or darker unsweetened dark chocolate
  • Wild-caught salmon 

Best Sources of Calcium

While drinking milk was once thought to be the only way to get enough dietary calcium, this isn’t the case, and many people can’t tolerate dairy products at all. If you keep dairy out of your diet (and we recommend doing so), you can get calcium from non-dairy foods including:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Wild-caught salmon
  • Sardines
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Seeds

Even with these great whole food sources, it can still be difficult to get the right amount of minerals from the foods we’re eating alone. This is where supplementation is a great option to augment a healthy diet, but it’s important that the supplements include the right amounts of nutrients in the right form. For example, you need supplements derived primarily from organic food sources, not synthetic nutrients, such as a natural multivitamin, and a plant-based Vitamin D3 supplement. 

Get Your Minerals in Balance 

With proper mineral balance comes better health, so make sure you are supporting optimal mineral balance with a wholesome diet and a high-quality food-based multi mineral. But do your homework, as most multi tablets are low in key mineral amounts because they simply don’t have the room in their tablets. But with a combination of both the right multi mineral tablet and a good diet, you can very easily meet your requirements of each of these important minerals each day.

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