Minerals are necessary for regulating your heart rate and blood sugar levels, they help with red blood cell production, protect teeth and bones, enable muscle and nerve function, assist with growth, healing and infection control, help us metabolise foods and keep our hormone system functioning well. As you can see, it’s really important to get adequate minerals for just about every aspect of your health.
Read on for some common minerals, what they do and where to get them …..
Iron – necessary for red blood cell production. Lack of iron can lead to anaemia so get some from lentils, soy bean products, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, egg yolk, yeast and dried fruit. A great herbal iron tonic is a product called Floradix. It’s safe for children, pregnant and breast feeding mothers.
A recent study published by the Journal of Australian Medicine has shown that a healthy vegetarian diet is perfectly adequate in terms of iron and protein intake.
Calcium – needed for healthy teeth and bones, for muscle contraction and relaxation (including your heart !) – calcium is found in dairy products, sesame seeds, tahini, soy beans and fortified products, broccoli, figs, and dark green vegetables.
Zinc – used for growth, healing and metabolising proteins, zinc is one of the more common deficiencies. White flecks on nails and skin problems is a sign that you may be deficient. Zinc is found in oatmeal, wheatgerm, cheese and milk products, mangoes, spinach and asparagus.
If you have signs of zinc deficiency it may be difficult to gain enough from your diet to get back to healthy levels and a supplement is a good idea.
Magnesium – this mineral is another common deficiency and can be related to many conditions such as migraine, anxiety, depression, muscle pain and weakness, poor carbohydrate metabolism. Sources of magnesium include fresh fruit and veg, nuts, seeds, yeast, pulses and beans. Again, like zinc, it can be hard to get a therapeutic level of magnesium from diet alone so supplements can help.
Iodine – needed for healthy thyroid function this mineral is found in iodised salt and seaweed products. When it is estimated that 1:10 people have suboptimal thyroid function it is worth talking to someone about how to support thyroid gland health. Herbal medicines can be of great assistance in dealing with thyroid symptoms such as depression, anxiety, weight gain, heart palpitations, hair and skin problems.
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