Intelligent eating with the right minerals

Without minerals nothing works in our body. Although inorganic substances are used only in small quantities, they are indispensable for important biochemical processes such as muscle and nerve stimulation, oxygen transport, control of the water balance and the formation of bones and teeth.

Fresh fruit and vegetables

Essential and trace elements

The essential minerals that we need to absorb in larger quantities include sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and chloride. Minerals of which we need only small amounts are called trace elements. These include iron, iodine, fluorine, manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt, chromium, selenium, molybdenum and vanadium. Important is an adequate supply of all minerals. At least one study, the German National Consumption Study of 2008, found inadequate nutrition particularly in calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.

How to retain minerals when preparing meals

In contrast to vitamins, minerals are not organic and therefore relatively robust when it comes to food preparation methods. Unlike vitamins, heat or air do not harm minerals. Nevertheless, there are some things to consider when working with minerals. Use as little water as possible for cooking vegetables, and try also to use the cooking water itself. Do not soak vegetables and salads when cleaning, otherwise the minerals dissolve and are lost in the water runoff.

The most important minerals and what they can do

Calcium is important for the formation of bones and teeth, and is needed for nerve and muscle stimulation. Good sources of calcium are dairy products, broccoli, kale and spinach.

Magnesium is an important component of energy metabolism. Bones and teeth do not gain their strength from calcium, but from magnesium. While calcium is responsible for muscular tension, magnesium provides relaxation. Magnesium protects the body from the negative consequences of stress because it is also able to inhibit the release of harmful stress hormones. Good sources of magnesium are legumes, nuts and whole grains.

Iron is of special importance to our body because it is a central building material of hemoglobin, which is responsible for the transport of oxygen into the cells. Those with iron deficiency should also always consume vitamin C, as vitamin C improves the absorption of iron. Good sources of iron are white beans, fennel, oat flakes, millet, calf's liver, legumes, spinach and chard.

Zinc is an important player in many enzymes and is particularly needed by our immune system. Anyone who frequently suffers from recurrent infections often suffers from a zinc deficiency. Good sources are shrimps, whole grains, cheese, meat and wheat germ.

Sodium is responsible for maintaining the balance of the body fluids. Due to the plentiful consumption of table salt, with sodium there exists practically no deficiency, except among heavy laborers and competitive athletes who lose many minerals through sweat.

Potassium plays an important role in maintaining the body's acid-base balance and heart function. Sources rich in potassium are cauliflower, cabbage, artichokes, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, pumpkin and banana, apple, pear and strawberries.

Iodine is an extremely important trace element because it is important for the activation and formation of thyroid hormones and thus for proper functioning of the metabolism. Iodine is relatively scarce in our diet. Eggs, seafood, fungi, grapes, bananas, and most of sea salt, contain iodine.

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