Mineral Salts: What They Are and Where to Find Them
On more than one occasion, you’ve probably heard about the importance of mineral salts. They constitute about 4% of our body mass and, along with other nutrients, are decisive for bodily vital functions. What exactly are they? Where to find them?
What are mineral salts?
According to the data published in “Biosphere Project: Biology and Geology Resources”, mineral salts are called inorganic molecules that, in living organisms, appear precipitated, ionized, or associated with any molecule.
- Those that appear as precipitates form hard structures that protect those that possess it. They also perform regulatory functions.
- In the case of ionized minerals, when dissolved in water, they become either positively or negatively charged. This helps in reducing the shock of pH changes, for example.
- Finally, salts that are associated with a molecule are made to perform a specific function that couldn’t do so on its own.
We recommend you read: 5 Benefits of Himalayan Salt Lamps
Why are mineral salts important?
The function of mineral salts is centered on the growth and health of the human body in general. It’s main goal is to make certain chemical process possible and form some structures that your body needs.
According to information from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, mineral salts are responsible for human tissue formation, hormone production and, in addition, they regulate some organic functions.
Among them, the most well-known ones are:
Mineral salts, like vitamins, don’t have calories. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to watch how much of them you take in. On the contrary, you need to regulate their portions.
Most important mineral salt functions
Below, you’ll see the most important functions of each of these mineral salts and how, according to what was reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this can affect your body.
Sodium helps to keep the liquids in your body balanced, both inside and outside of your cells, according to a study in Advances in Nutrition. It helps transmit and generate nervous impulses and the correct response in muscular stimulus.
It plays a role in the acid-base balance. Its deficiency can induce fatigue and its excess is related to an increased risk of high blood pressure. This is due to its ability to regulate blood pressure and blood volume.
This mineral salt exercises diverse functions in the human body. According to the journal Nutrients, it forms part of your bones and teeth and keeps them healthy. Additionally, its presence is very important to properly clot your blood.
- Not taking in enough calcium can make your hair and nails fragile, as well as cause memory loss and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
A review published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences notes that iron enables hemoglobin production. This is a protein that red blood cells contain and that allows oxygen transportation to the tissues. It constitutes 65% of the iron in the body.
Iron is also necessary for myoglobin production, which is the protein responsible for transporting oxygen to the muscles. It’s similar to hemoglobin, and its function is to store oxygen. It’s mainly in skeletal muscle and heart muscle, which require the most energy.
Magnesium plays a role in nerve transmission and muscle relaxation, maintaining the acid-base balance. The Clinical Kidney Journal reported that some of the consequences of a magnesium deficiency include:
- Irregular heartbeat.
- General fatigue.
- Muscle cramps.
Potassium is a basic mineral salt for your body, due to the functions that they perform. For example, as Advances in Nutrition states, it regulates the water inside and outside of your cells, along with sodium, which is essential for proper human growth.
The consequences of a potassium deficiency are:
- Dry skin
- A sensation of continuous thirst
- Overall weakness
Also see: Foods that Provide The Most Potassium
Another publication in Advances in Nutrition states that phosphorus is one of the main components in charge of the formation of bones and teeth. Therefore, it plays an important role, as it determines the way your body uses carbohydrates and fats.
A phosphorus deficiency could make you suffer from:
Foods that are rich in mineral salts
The best way to get mineral salts is through food. Although they’re available in supplement form, you should only take them when necessary.
Calcium is mostly found in dairy products like yogurts, cheeses, and milk.
Potassium is in fruits. Since potassium is useful for muscle activity, banana is a great help for cramps. You can also find it in legumes, meats, fish, and even in chocolate.
Offal, shellfish, cocoa, legumes, egg yolks, or cereals in general contain iron.
Magnesium is in some of the foods we already mentioned: it’s present in cereal germ, nuts, legumes, chocolate, and whole wheat bread.
You can get phosphorus from any lipid, such as meat or fish.
Mineral salts are necessary for proper bodily functioning. Like vitamins, you must take them every day.
Their contribution varies depending on the person who takes them. Analyze your daily diet and, if you don’t eat the foods we recommended here, incorporate them to reap their benefits.