Fact: Your body doesn’t produce minerals. So, the only way to ensure your daily target of mineral intake is through mineral-rich dietary sources. Now, brace yourself for the Science bit. Minerals which are originally found in rocks, soil and water are absorbed by plants as they grow and animals when they feed on those plants. That is how minerals make to our diet in the form of plants and meat.
Consuming too little or too much can skew the delicate balance in the body and result in health complications. This is why it’s essential to ensure you are getting your minerals and in the right amounts.
Let’s first begin by understanding a little more about minerals.
Minerals are inorganic substances that your body needs for its proper functioning. There are two types of minerals.
Major minerals required by the human body include: Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Sodium. These are called macro minerals and are required in larger quantities which exceeds 100 mg per day.
Trace elements include: Iron, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, Fluoride, Chromium and Molybdenum. The daily requirement of trace minerals is less than 100 mg.
Benefits of Macro Minerals
- Calcium helps maintain healthy teeth and bones which can help prevent osteoporosis. It also enables blood clotting and regulation of heartbeat.
- Chloride helps maintain the fluid balance inside and outside your cells while also maintaining blood volume, blood pressure and the pH value of your body fluids.
- Magnesium regulates protein synthesis, blood pressure and muscle and nerve function. It also controls blood glucose and plays a key role in energy production.
- Phosphorus is needed for the formation of bones and teeth as well as for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues.
- Potassium is essential to regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. It can also help lower blood pressure, prevent stroke and kidney stones and help reduce water retention.
- Sodium plays a key role in normal nerve and muscle function while maintaining fluid balance in and around cells.
Benefits Of Trace Minerals
- Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin and other enzyme systems.
- Zinc is essential for metabolism of protein and carbohydrates. It plays a key role in wound healing and production of antibodies.
- Manganese is important for bone formation, carbohydrate metabolism and regeneration of cells.
- Copper is essential for the absorption of iron, formation of melanin and bone formation.
- Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormones and plays a significant role in regulating metabolic rate.
- Chromium helps in glucose tolerance and helps metabolism of carbohydrate.
- Selenium assists with cognitive function and fertility while also preventing thyroid problems.
We will be focusing on two minerals, potassium and zinc.
Potassium is an important mineral that functions as an electrolyte and helps your heartbeat stay regular.
Signs Of Low Potassium
- Muscle cramps and twitching
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
Here’s a lowdown on the potassium foods to help fulfil your daily intake of the mineral.
Potassium Rich Fruits
A banana on an average comprises 450 mg of Potassium while containing low amount of sodium. This makes the tropical fruit a heart healthy choice by regulating blood pressure. Besides, the fiber portion in the fruit regulates digestion and curbs cravings.
Following an intense workout with oranges can help replenish the lost potassium and electrolytes. If you prefer having it as an energy drink, a glass of orange juice can offer 11% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of potassium.
A cup of dried apricots can serve upto 32% of RDA of potassium. What makes it even better is that it scores on saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. This is your cue to replace your post-meal snacks with these velvety skinned marvels.
Potassium Rich Vegetables
1. Sweet Potatoes
Once you know the amount of potassium a sweet potato on average comprises, you will reconsider your hostility towards this starchy tuber. It’s also loaded with manganese, Vitamins C and B6 while being low on fat.
This edible fungus has an exceptional nutritional profile that boasts high amounts of potassium, protein, calcium, iron and copper. Choose mushrooms that offer more potassium value, such as Crimini (11% DV), Portabella (9%), Chantarelle (8%), Morel (8%), and Shiitake (5%).
If you’re looking to restore potassium and electrolytes after a strenuous workout, opt for cucumbers. The best part about this densely hydrated vegetable is that is packs fewer calories than most other high-potassium vegetables.
Zinc is a trace element that aids a healthy immune system and also plays a role in DNA synthesis. Lack of zinc can make you susceptible to illnesses.
Signs Of Low Zinc
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Eye and skin lesions
- Reduced alertness
- Loss of weight
- Decreased sense of taste and smell
Here’s a lowdown on the zinc rich foods to help fulfil your daily intake of the mineral
Zinc Rich Fruits
This sanguine-colored fruit may be a task to peel and consume but it’s worth it. Why? It harbors 6% RDA of potassium while being loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C. These nutrients help boost immunity and improve blood flow throughout the body.
Don’t go by its fuzzy brown peel. Trust us, Kiwi or Chinese gooseberry is a lot better on the inside as a powerhouse of nutrients. Packed with Vitamins C, E, and K and potassium, fiber, folate and antioxidants this superfood is best had early in the morning on an empty stomach for a detoxifying effect.
Originating from Mexico, this creamy fruit is a rich source of Vitamins C, E, K, and B-6 as well as magnesium, potassium, beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids. Want in on the best bit? It’s waistline friendly thanks to its high fiber content.
Zinc Rich Vegetables
Apart from being a good source of potassium and calcium, Okra is high in antioxidants, fiber and Vitamin C. Add to that, the high levels of polyphenols in this veggie lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases and regulates blood sugar.
Peas are more than just an easy way to add color and flavor to meals. It might be hard to imagine these tiny pods pack in copious amounts of potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, folate, and B-vitamins but they do. Besides, they are almost fat-free.
3. Sweet Corn
Although Sweet corn is 73% water, it’s loaded with minerals, such as potassium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and copper. Ahh and did we tell you that it can boost your metabolism and accelerate weight loss? That’s because it’s a probiotic containing gut-friendly bacteria that leads to a faster metabolic rate possible.
1. Recommend supplements that are good sources of zinc.
2. What is the amount of potassium in papaya?
Papaya offers 390 mg of potassium which makes it a potassium rich food.
3. Is it advisable to replace food with supplements as sources of potassium?
Supplements of any kind must be taken along with a nutrient-dense food and not just as a sole source of minerals or vitamins. Consult with your nutritionist before you include supplements in your diet.
Nykaa Recommends: HealthVit Potassium Citrate 99Mg 60 Capsules
4. Which are the foods that are highest in potassium?
Bananas, oranges, honeydew, cantaloupe, grapefruit, spinach, broccoli, kidney beans, lima beans, lentils, soybeans, avocados, watermelon and tomatoes are potassium rich foods.
5. What are the zinc rich foods for vegetarians?
Zinc rich foods for vegetarians include whole grains, tofu, legumes, shitake mushrooms, green peas, lentil sprouts, beet greens, okra, broccoli, oatmeal, seeds and nuts.
6. Which are the fruits that contain zinc?
Fruits that contain zinc include avocados, raspberries, blackberries, guavas, cantaloupes, pomegranates, peaches, kiwis and blueberries.