Minerals are inorganic substances like sodium, potassium, chlorine, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iodine, iron, cobalt and copper. They are classified into two categories: major and minor, based on the intake level. If more than 100mg of a mineral is required per day, the mineral is said to be major mineral. They include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chlorine, magnesium and sulphur. Minor or trace minerals include boron, chromium, cobalt, fluorine, iron, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, vanadium and zinc.
Plants incorporate minerals from the soil into their own tissue. For this reason fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are often excellent sources of minerals. Minerals as they occur in earth in their natural form – are inorganic. In plants, however they are combined with organic molecules. This usually results in better mineral absorption. Green leafy vegetables are best source of many minerals.
Minerals are vital for good health. Like vitamins they are essential for regulation and building the cells which make up the body. body cells receive the essential food elements through the blood stream. They must therefore be properly nourished with an adequate supply of all the essential minerals for the efficient functioning of the body.
Minerals help maintain the volume of water necessary for the life processes in the body. they help draw chemical substances into and out of the cells. They keep the blood and tissue fluids from becoming either too acidic or too alkaline. The importance of minerals like vitamins is illustrated by the fact that there are over 50000 enzymes in the body which direct growth and energy, and each enzyme has minerals and vitamins associated with it. Each of the essential food minerals does a specific job in the body, while some of them do extra work in teams to keep the body cells healthy.
Minerals thus play an important role in the bodily functions and are present in every human cell. Although the amount needed may be small, even the lack of the required trace of mineral is bound to lead to a dysfunction at some level in the body. Less obvious deficiencies may surface as fatigue, irritability, loss of memory, nervousness, depression and weakness.
These inorganic minerals are essential for the proper growth and assimilation of the organic substances and development of every part of the body.
The body can tolerate a deficiency of vitamins for a relatively long period, but even slight change in the concentration of important mineral in the blood may rapidly endanger life.
The role of more important of these minerals in the body, their deficiency symptoms, and their therapeutic uses are described in various sections of this website.
Micro-minerals (or Trace Minerals)