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Unsung Nutritional Superheroes

Last week you learned a few tips to keep you healthy and whole this winter season.  Today, the topic is on the tiny unsung heroes that aid in immunity, health support, and disease prevention:  Minerals.  A few of the many things minerals do, are help maintain water balance, aid in hemoglobin (blood) synthesis, regulate nerve impulses, and support the body’s energy stores for exercise.

After reading how vital minerals are, would you be surprised by the fact that very few of us are meeting recommended mineral intakes from our diet?  This fact should be a true concern, especially for women, who lose precious minerals monthly for an average of forty years of their lives. The major mineral that these women are losing during their menstruation is iron.

Please note that minerals are also crucial for those looking to enhance their workout routine and performance.  These are essential nutrients that the body needs, but cannot readily produce.

IRON plays a role in oxygen transportation and helps regulate the release of energy from cells.  Over 20% of women do not meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 18mg of iron per day, making it the most common mineral deficiency.  And those women who exercise regularly are at greatest risk.  The harder your body works, the more iron your body needs to replenish its stores.  Iron is found in lentils, spinach, oysters, dark chocolate and seeds.

MAGNESIUM is important for numerous enzyme reactions that take place in your body.  This mineral is found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and dark leafy greens, and the daily RDA range is 310-420mg.  It is vital for both strength and endurance.  As noted in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, iron and magnesium are two of the minerals found in highest concentrations in sweat; the longer and more intensely you work out, the greater your needs for replenishment.

CHLORIDE is a major mineral your body needs to make gastric juices. It is found alongside sodium in the fluid surrounding your cells, so they work together to help keep your body fluids in balance.  Chloride is found in table salt (sodium chloride) and many vegetables, including celery and tomatoes.  The recommended daily allowance is 800 – 1200 mg.

CALCIUM helps strengthen bones and plays a key role in muscular contraction during exercise, as well as cellular metabolism.  It impacts your ability to sustain long and intense exercise.  This mineral can be found such foods as yogurt, cheese, fatty fish, dark leafy greens, and almonds, with the RDA being 1000 – 1200 mg.

Minerals are just as important as vitamins.  They are important for a healthy body and mind, so take care to get adequate mineral intake with a wholesome, well-rounded diet.