The Standard American Diet (SAD), the extreme rise in chronic gastrointestinal health conditions, and poor soil quality has all combined to cause an epidemic of nutritional deficiencies. This is why so many health-conscious individuals turn to supplements to fill these nutritional gaps.
However, even if you take a multivitamin every day, you could still be missing out on some vital nutrients. Everybody talks about vitamins, but minerals are just as important.
Are these 7 important minerals missing from your diet?
Why you need it: Magnesium is necessary for proper neurological, mitochondrial, cardiac, immune system, and muscular function. Without adequate levels, you could be at risk for hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Signs you may be deficient in it: The clinical symptoms of magnesium deficiency include anxiety, irregular heartbeat, muscle tics, spasms, and cramps, as well as seizures. Lesser-known symptoms of this mineral deficiency include migraine, chronic fatigue, insomnia, depression, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems in children.
Where to get it: Foods that are rich in magnesium include dark leafy greens, beans, whole grains, bananas, nuts, seeds, avocados, plain Greek yogurt, dried fruit, and dark chocolate.
In the case of a severe magnesium deficiency, you may need a supplement. Chelated magnesium is easier for your body to absorb, even if you have poor digestion. Magnesium is best taken at night before retiring.
Why you need it: Calcium is both a mineral and an electrolyte found in your bones and blood. It is critical for the maintenance of proper heart and nerve function, blood clotting, and muscular contractions.
Signs you may be deficient in it: In the case of calcium deficiency, most people are asymptomatic, meaning they have no symptoms. In severe cases, however, symptoms include insomnia, difficulty losing weight, and neurological symptoms such as muscle tremors, twitches, and tingling of the lips and fingers. Fatigue, poor memory, irritability, and hallucinations can also be symptoms of calcium deficiency.
Where to get it: If you want a rich source of magnesium, probiotics, and dozens of other nutrients, I recommend raw milk. Other foods that can help meet your daily calcium needs include canned salmon, bok choy, kale, turnip greens, dried figs, almonds, oranges, and blackstrap molasses.
Why you need it: Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells. Without adequate iron levels, you may develop anemia.
Signs you may be deficient in it: The most common symptom of iron deficiency is fatigue because your cells are not getting enough oxygen to give you energy. Other symptoms of iron deficiency include restless legs syndrome, swollen tongue, cracks on the sides of the mouth, hair loss, and cravings to eat non-food items such as dirt, clay, or chalk. This condition is called pica.
Where to get it: Food sources of iron include liver, beef, oysters, spinach, peas, and dried fruit. Vitamin C enhances iron absorption, so eat oranges regularly. Not only will you keep colds at bay, you’ll increase your calcium, iron, and vitamin C levels all at the same time!
Why you need it: Zinc is critical for proper growth, development, and sexual maturation. This essential mineral also helps regulate appetite, stress levels, and your sense of smell and taste. Furthermore, its antioxidant properties make it a key player in healthy immune system function.
Signs you may be deficient in it: If you have a zinc deficiency, you may experience stress and anxiety related to impaired adrenal function. You may also experience hyperactivity, vision changes, irritable bowel syndrome, eating disorders, poor immunity, cognitive malfunction, and impaired growth and sexual development.
Where to get it: Foods that are rich in zinc include pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, chickpeas, and dark chocolate.
Why you need it: Potassium is very important to electrolyte and fluid balance in your body. It also triggers muscular contractions, including those of the heart.
Signs you may be deficient in it: Potassium deficiency can present with a wide variety of symptoms, including weakness, fatigue, cramping in the extremities, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, low blood pressure, fainting, extreme thirst, and excessive urination. Those with a deficiency in this mineral may also exhibit unusual psychological behavior such as psychosis, delirium, or hallucinations.
Where to get it: Foods rich in potassium include bananas, mushrooms, avocados, potatoes, squash, yogurt, beans, fish, and dark leafy greens.
Note: If you’re on dialysis, you must consult with your physician before eating potassium-rich foods or taking a potassium supplement as it could be very harmful to your health.
Why you need it: Selenium is essential for proper thyroid function and has even been shown to prevent the development of certain types of cancer.
Signs you may be deficient in it: Some signs of selenium deficiency include poor immunity, loss of hair, fingernail discoloration (heavy whitening of the fingernail beds), chronic fatigue, brain fog, reproductive abnormalities (infertility, miscarriage, changes in menstruation, changes in sperm motility), and hypothyroidism.
Where to get it: The most potent food sources of selenium are Brazil nuts, oysters, cooked tuna, sunflower seeds, pork tenderloin, leaf beef steak, and cooked shiitake mushrooms.
Why you need it: Phosphorus is a mineral and an electrolyte, and it plays a key role in the regulation of calcium in your body.
Signs you may be deficient in it: Signs of a deficiency in this mineral include appetite loss, weight changes, bone pain, bone fragility, joint stiffness, fatigue, weakness, numbness, irregular breathing, anxiety, and irritability. Signs in children include decreased growth and poor bone and tooth development.
Where to get it: Good dietary sources of phosphorus include organic, grass-fed meat, organic poultry, and wild-caught fish, as well as organic eggs, nuts, and legumes. Dried fruit, hard potatoes, and garlic cloves also contain this essential mineral.
It is not necessary to take a phosphorus supplement, as you can easily get your daily requirement from food. If you have kidney disease, phosphorus toxicity may result from the intake of this mineral, so talk with your doctor first.
Important Note: If you are taking any prescription medications, talk with your doctor before taking these or any other minerals or dietary supplements as there is always a chance for medication interactions. Do not use while pregnant or nursing except under the advice of your doctor.
Vitamins are vital, but minerals are essential. Be sure to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet so these minerals become a part of your nutritional arsenal. Proper organ and immune system function are your keys to leading your healthiest life.
If you’re in the Connecticut area, stop by our Meriden, CT store to find the vitamins, minerals, and healthy food you need to feel your best. We’ll be happy to talk with you and offer some suggestions while you’re here.
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