As a nutritionist, I love sharing as much knowledge about the foods we eat. Why? The more you know about these benefits, the easier it is to fuel your body with the right stuff!
So let’s start with the basics. We are all familiar with macronutrients; the carbohydrates, the fats, the proteins.
You’re probably familiar with the vitamins, A, B, C, D, E, and K.
And you also probably know of some macro minerals; calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulphur.
But perhaps you are not so acquainted with the micro minerals.
These minerals are just as vital to our health but are only required in tiny amounts, hence their name.
You might recognise some of these; chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc.
Why are micro minerals roles so important for the body?
Micro, or trace, minerals have many functions in the body, primarily as catalysts in enzyme systems, transportation of oxygen, energy metabolism and the prevention of chronic diseases.
Although serious deficiencies are rare in the Western world, mild to moderate deficiencies are commonplace. Symptoms can materialise as fatigue, decreased immunity, anaemia, decreased mental capabilities and slow metabolism amongst other things.
How do they support my health?
These tiny minerals play a big role in our health. For example;
Chromium: improves insulin action. Involved in the breakdown of the macronutrients.
Copper: Helps with red blood cell production, keeps the nerve and immune system healthy. Helps in collagen formation, also an antioxidant.
Fluoride: Plays a role in building strong teeth and bones.
Iodine: Required for the production of thyroid hormones, which then controls the body’s metabolism, and bone and brain development.
Iron: Essential for growth and development, oxygen transportation, and required for some hormone production.
Manganese: Involved in brain and nerve function, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, blood sugar regulation, as well as the formation of connective tissue, bones, sex hormones, and clotting factors.
Molybdenum: Required for enzyme production, process proteins and genetic material. Also required for the breakdown of toxic substances.
Selenium: Essential component of some proteins and enzymes, required for the production of DNA, and cellular protection from infections and damage. Required for thyroid hormone metabolism.
Zinc: Required for immune system and metabolism function, wound healing, sense of taste and smell and the formation of DNA
Am I getting enough of these nutrients?
Even if you think you are eating well, you might be missing out.
For your food to be mineral-dense, it needs to be grown in mineral-rich soil, which in today’s world, is a rarity. Modern-day agricultural practices have depleted the land our food is grown on, thanks to a move towards increased production instead of nutrition.
Aside from creating your own nutrient-dense soil, opting for organic food where possible is a great way to increase micro minerals in your diet.
The best source? The ocean!
Even if the land is nutrient-dense, we have another obstacle – rainfall. Water is an incredible solvent that will wash some of the minerals from the soils, rocks and land (especially if the soils lack organic matter to hold them together), taking these precious minerals eventually to the sea.
That’s why seaweeds are one of the most mineral rich foods on the planet – they grow in an ocean of minerals!
Some of the best seaweeds you can add to your diet include kelp, wakame, spirulina, dulce, arame and bladderwrack.
Stir into soups and salads, snack on nori, add spirulina to your smoothies or add a side of wakame salad with your sushi. Or if you prefer to eat your super foods – try our NEW Vitamin Sea super food blend.