Minerals are important substances that our body needs on a daily basis, albeit in the smallest amounts. If they are missing, serious symptoms may occur. A balanced diet counteracts the lack of minerals.
What are minerals?
He can not produce some of the substances that our organism absolutely needs for survival. We must therefore absorb these so-called essential nutrients in sufficient concentration through the diet and the drinking water. These include - in addition to vitamins and fiber - also the inorganic minerals. They can be divided into two groups.
The trace elements are present in our body only in very low concentrations: between one milligram and five grams. The organism only needs "traces" of it. Trace elements are, for example, iron, fluorine, iodine and zinc. From the quantity elements, for example magnesium, calcium, potassium or sodium, we need larger concentrations. Our body contains between 25 and 1000 grams of them.
How is mineral deficiency?
A balanced diet is usually enough to restore the body the minerals it consumes. Unilateral diet, for example, in long-term diets or excessive consumption of ready meals, but may for example lead to iodine or iron deficiency.
In certain phases, the body also requires more minerals than usual. This applies once for the growth phases in children and adolescents, as well as for pregnant and breastfeeding women, athletes and the elderly.
Below we present the trace elements in an overview.
Iron - brings color to the blood
The majority of the four to five grams of iron in our body is found in hemoglobin, the red blood pigment, as well as myoglobin, the muscle pigment. Its most important functions are the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the organs as well as the transport of carbon dioxide in the opposite direction.
Iron deficiency can occur with heavy blood loss as well as with gastric or intestinal illnesses, which bring a disturbed iron admission with itself. Also in infants who are fed exclusively with milk for a long time, as well as in pregnant and nursing women and children in growth phases, the iron content may be too low. For example, anemia, anemia, fatigue, dizziness, headache, or gastrointestinal discomfort may be the consequences of iron deficiency.
On the other hand, a strong overdose can lead to symptoms of intoxication such as vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding or liver and kidney damage - talk to your doctor before taking iron supplements. Our daily iron needs are usually 10 to 15 milligrams. Meat, offal, cereals, legumes and vegetables are good sources of iron, and our body can absorb animal iron better than vegetable matter.
Iodine - against the crop
Most of the iodine in our body is found in the thyroid: about ten to thirty milligrams. It needs it to make thyroid hormones. A deficiency of iodine is usually caused by low-iodine diet and low-iodine drinking water. In the case of an iodine deficiency, the thyroid gland grows in order to be able to better utilize the smaller amounts of iodine in the body - under certain circumstances a goiter may form. This can affect the larynx, food and trachea, causing difficulty swallowing and shortness of breath.
If the body still gets too little iodine, hypothyroidism may also develop. Affected suffer from, among other things, fatigue, lack of concentration or listlessness.
To cover the daily requirement of 150 to 300 micrograms, you should consciously eat iodine rich. This includes the use of iodized table salt, but also the enjoyment of fish, seafood and algae (sushi) is good for the iodine balance.
In pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as adolescents, the daily need is increased, here, the doctor can additionally prescribe a Jodspäparat.
Zinc - strengthens the body's defenses
About two grams of zinc are found in the body of an adult. Among other things, our organism needs it to fight bacteria and viruses in an infection and thus heal wounds better. It also controls the production of insulin and is therefore important for our blood sugar levels.
Infections, inflammation, growth, pregnancy and lactation increase zinc intake.
Causes and consequences of a zinc deficiency
There are many causes of zinc deficiency. Such are for example:
- unbalanced diet
- regular alcohol consumption (zinc is involved in alcohol detoxification)
- liver disease
- Stomach and intestinal diseases
- taking certain medications
Among other things, a deficiency leads to an increased susceptibility to infection, disorders of wound healing, problems with skin and hair, in adolescents to growth disorders, impotence can sometimes have their cause in a zinc deficiency.
Zinc in food
Zinc is mainly found in animal foods, so daily needs of seven to ten milligrams are best met by regular consumption of meat, offal or cheese.
A permanently excessive zinc intake can lead to chromium, iron, manganese or copper deficiency. Therefore, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends, as a guideline for the intake of zinc on dietary supplements, not to exceed a maximum of 6.5 milligrams per day.