We’ve all been told time and time again about the importance of vitamins and minerals for our health and well-being. But do you know what trace minerals are? Have you ever heard of them?
Here’s your chance to find out all about them and why they’re an important part of a healthy diet.
What is a Trace Mineral?
There are two different groups of minerals, called macrominerals and trace minerals. In Greek ‘macro’ means large, so as you can probably guess, you need a great quantity of macrominerals than trace minerals.
Trace minerals are elements that are needed by the body, but only in small quantities. Very small quantities in fact. If you are an adult male then you only need to consume around 50 to 100 milligrams a day, which is less than 0.01% of your bodyweight.
What Minerals are ‘Trace’ Minerals?
There are a number of trace minerals. Below is a list of some of the ones you may have heard of. You may already be aware of why these trace minerals are important for your health and normal bodily function.
This mineral is most commonly known for helping you to have strong bones, but it also plays a vitally important role in muscle contraction and the function of your nervous system. A calcium deficiency can be dangerous for the body. If you’re not consuming enough calcium from your diet then your body will take calcium from your bones to maintain normal cell function. This will lead to weak bones, which is incredibly dangerous, especially if you’re involved in physical activity on a regular basis.
If you’re a lover of dairy products, such as milk and cheese, then the likelihood is you’re probably consuming enough calcium on a daily basis, but if you’re lactose intolerant then you should consider a calcium supplement.
How much Calcium a day? 1000 mg
Do you seem to always get sick? Then you may well be suffering from a Zinc deficiency. Zinc is important for the proper function of the body’s immune system. It is needed for cell growth and division, so without Zinc you wouldn’t be able to recover after suffering an injury.
There are a number of foods high in Zinc, such as grass fed beef, yogurt, lamb and chicken to name just a few. If you’re worried about a Zinc deficiency then you can take Zinc Tablets as a supplement.
How much Zinc a day? = 11 mg
Iron is a component of hemoglobin, which is an important substance in red blood cells. It’s the red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body, so without healthy red blood cells your body cannot get enough oxygen to function. This is why it is vital you’re consuming enough iron!
Foods high in iron include brown rice, kale, nuts, fish and both white and red meat.
How much Iron a day? – 10 mg
For any bodybuilder out there potassium is an essential mineral. It has an important role in skeletal strength and muscle contraction and function. A potassium deficiency will directly hinder your ability to lift weights in the gym. It is also important for digestion.
Foods high in potassium include avocados, spinach, bananas, sweet potato and coconut water.
How much Potassium a day? – 4700 mg
Being an electrolyte, sodium is important for the normal function of your muscles and nervous system. Now you may be thinking, isn’t too much sodium bad for you? And you’re right. It is. But just as too much is bad for you, too little sodium is also dangerous for the body. Be careful not to exceed the RDI of sodium. Pay close attention to the ingredients on the food you’re eating and if you’re one of those people who puts salt on everything, then you need to think again.
How much Sodium a day? – 2300 mg
Take Home Message
Hopefully you now understand what trace minerals are and why they’re an important part of your daily diet. To workout if you have a deficiency in any of these minerals, track your diet for a week. It’s best to use an app like My Fitness Pal. And record how much of each mineral you are consuming daily and see if it is enough. For Sodium pay close attention to make sure it isn’t too much! When you’ve acquired this information you will then be able to decide on whether you need to supplement to boost your intake of any of these important trace minerals.