Your body is a biological machine. As such, it needs routine maintenance, and providing it with quality fuel is critical to health and longevity. When planning a healthy diet, it is helpful to research your body’s mineral needs. Knowing what deposits are necessary for you to feel like your best self will help you make more informed dietary choices, and lead to a happier life. Here are some of the most important minerals to keep your machine running.
If there’s one essential mineral that everyone can name, it is calcium. This is with good reason! Calcium is critical for strong teeth and bones. You’ll certainly want to be sure you getting plenty of calcium to maintain bone mass and stay active but you may be surprised to learn that calcium is necessary for the heart to continue pumping! If you’re looking to add more calcium to your diet, there are plenty of tasty options. You likely already know that dairy products including milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich in calcium. If you’re trying to avoid lactose, however, consider oily fishes like salmon or sardines. You might also like calcium-packed plant-based options like lentils, beans, and dark leafy greens.
Think of magnesium as calcium’s partner in crime. Where calcium is responsible for the contracting motion in the heartbeat, magnesium is the mineral responsible for relaxing the heart muscles. By maintaining counteracting calcium’s effect on the heart, magnesium helps avoid problems like an irregular heartbeat. Adequate magnesium intake can lower the risk of adverse conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type two diabetes. As you might’ve guessed, eating your greens is the way to go for magnesium. It can be found in swiss chard and spinach. However, you might consider trying pumpkin seeds, almonds, or even a magnesium complex for added nutrients.
Potassium may not be a household name like calcium but rest assured, it is every bit as important. This electrolyte is essential to our cellular makeup. You see, your cells use electrical impulses in order to conduct your body’s basic functions. These include your reflexes, muscle contractions, and even your heartbeat! Think of potassium as the fuel for your nervous system. If you’re looking to get more potassium in your life, fruits and veggies are definitely the way to go. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with potassium, as are avocados, potatoes, and perhaps most famously — bananas!
You’ve undoubtedly heard that iron is important. The role of iron in the body cannot be overstated. Iron fortifies red blood cells by making two crucial proteins: hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein that transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Similarly, myoglobin specifically provides oxygen to the muscles. Iron is incredibly important to your cardiovascular health, and the body’s growth and development. Iron-rich foods commonly include red meat. However beans, nuts, and fortified cereals can also be wonderful options to keep your vascular system in great shape.