Focus on Minerals
Minerals are found in soil and from there get into our food supply. The amount of various minerals found in foods depends on the mineral content in which the foods are grown. Quite a bit of variation exists.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. However, it is the mineral that many Americans don't get enough of. Most of
the calcium is in the bones, although there is a constant flow of calcium between the bones and the bloodstream. Calcium is also involved in the transmission
of nerve impulses, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and absorption of vitamin B12. Calcium is regulated by hormones and requires a hormone made with
vitamin D for this process. Vitamin D is needed for the proper absorption of calcium, so an insufficient amount of vitamin D will decrease the amount of
Iron is necessary component of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood throughout the body. Vitamin C helps increase
the absorption of the type of iron found in fruits and vegetables.
Phosphorus is another abundant mineral in the body and most of it is in the bones and teeth. Phosphorus is involved in the
bone formation; in getting energy out of the foods you eat; regulating the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins and fats; and is part of DNA and RNA.
Iodine is part of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones play many roles in the body including regulation of metabolic rate, body
temperature, and muscle and nerve function. At one time the development of a goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland, was a common sign of iodine deficiency.
To solve this problem iodine was, and continues to be, added to a common ingredient - salt.
Magnesium helps relax muscles and helps conduct nerve impulses. It activates many of the body's enzymes to complete its
chemical reactions. More than half the body's magnesium is in the bones.
Zinc is necessary for the breakdown of protein, carbohydrates, fats and alcohol. Zinc is needed to make proteins, DNA and RNA,
and insulin. It helps heal wounds and helps us taste foods. Zinc is involved in growth and development, so it's important for children and pregnant women.
Selenium is part of an enzyme that functions in the body as an antioxidant. Selenium also works closely with vitamin E, another
antioxidant. It is known that selenium supplements can be dangerous.
Copper is involved with making red blood cells, absorbing and transferring iron, healing wounds, forming bone, and making collagen.
Fluoride is best known for its role in hardening tooth enamel. It thus helps protect teeth from decay. Fluoride also helps
Chromium helps the body breakdown carbohydrates and fats. Chromium works with insulin to help the cells get glucose inside
to be able to release energy. Research has shown that people with a chromium deficiency may have difficulty controlling their blood glucose levels; however,
according to the American Diabetes Association, it is unlikely that most people with diabetes are chromium deficient. Several studies conducted in people
with diabetes who were not chromium deficient have not shown any improvement in blood glucose with chromium supplementation.
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