We've all heard that our bodies need vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy.
Most people—especially given the health concerns over the past few years—are now taking vitamins, if they weren't before. Vitamins C, D, and B are a good place to start if you're one of those who hasn't started, or didn't know where to start. But what about the minerals? Trace minerals to be precise.
Some, like iron, you likely have heard about, and may be even supplementing already. But iron's not the only one.
Trace minerals are compounds that are essential to your body's proper development and function. They are essential because your body does not produce them, you must get them from your food and/or supplementation and although small amounts are all that is needed, a lack of these important minerals can lead to a variety of health concerns.
Too much of a good thing isn't a good thing either, mind.
If you think you may be lacking in one, some or all of these nutrients, I recommend booking in with your doctor or naturopath for some blood work to see where you're at. That being said, improvements can always be made by eating a healthy, balanced, varied menu, free of processed foods and then supplementing with a good antioxidant and nitric oxide support to reduce inflammation and support better absorption of all the goodness you're putting in. After all, you're not just what you eat, you're really only what you can absorb.
So, let's look at the nine primary trace minerals deemed essential in maintaining overall health. Each individual mineral comes with its own benefits.
• Iron – It is used by the body to make hemoglobin and myoglobin to carry oxygen throughout the body and to the muscles. Look to add foods like spinach, broccoli, beets and the tops, chicken, beef, turkey, mussels, oysters, sardines, salmon, tuna, haddock, perch, beans, peas, apricots, raisins, nuts and seeds to support iron levels.
• Manganese – It supports tissue and bone health and also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Foods like mussels, brown rice, hazelnuts, chickpeas, spinach, pineapple, whole wheat bread, black tea, potatoes contain manganese.
• Molybdenum – It assists the body in breaking down amino acids and sulphites and prevents harmful toxins from building up. Eating foods like legumes, kidney/lima/navy beans, nuts, soy, dairy, leafy veggies, eggs, liver, tomatoes all contain molybdenum.
• Copper – It enables the body to make red blood cells and supports healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, heart and immune health. Organ meats, oysters, spirulina, shiitake mushrooms, nuts and seeds, lobster, leafy greens, dark chocolate, all contain come copper.
• Iodine – It is key in production of thyroid hormones, as well as proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy. Seaweed, cod, dairy, shrimp, tuna, eggs, prunes, lima beans, are all great choices to help get more iodine into your body.
• Zinc – It supports the immune system, helps support a healthy inflammatory response is key for growth and DNA synthesis. Foods like oysters, lamb, seeds, beef, chickpeas, lentils, cocoa powder, cashews, avocado, mushrooms, spinach, are some examples of ways to add some zinc into your day.
• Cobalt – It enables the body to make red blood cells, helps prevent infections and is essential for the formation of vitamin B12. Dark chocolate, cheese, rice, figs, fish, meat, nuts, green veggies, butter, fruit are all foods you can add in to support cobalt levels.
• Selenium – It protects again heart disease as well as some types of cancer, is antioxidant rich to assist in reducing oxidative stress which brings down inflammation, and balances hormones. Brazil nuts, seafood, lean meat, rice, eggs, oatmeal, are all things you should be incorporating in to support selenium levels in your body.
As you can see, there are a lot of foods that cross over and support more than one trace mineral. That is great news because it means by adding in some of those foods, you can target and support more minerals.
Variety and nutrient diversity is not only key to creating optimal nutrient levels, it also plays a role in creating a healthy gut as well.
For more information and support on how to create and maintain balanced nutrition, join the 8 Weeks is all it Takes group on Facebook.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.