You may not realize exactly how important minerals are to us, but they actually play a huge role in our bodies. Not only do they take part in the structure of our body, but also help with regulation of the processes that maintains life. In reality there are 20 minerals that play a way bigger role than I ever knew in how healthy your body is and stays. Some minerals have a specific role it plays, where others play many different roles. Calcium is a good example of a mineral that has many roles. “Calcium alone keeps bones strong, regulates blood pressure, helps muscles contract, and transmits nerve signals from cell to cell” (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006). Minerals have two functions in our bodies by either building or regulating.
Building deals with bones and soft tissue where regulating affects many more; metabolism, heartbeat, blood clotting, nerves, blood pressure, water balance, and oxygen transport and energy release. Plants and animals are a few different ways you are able to consume minerals, which can be advantageous or contaminants depending on the condition of the plant or animal. Enriching processed foods helps that particular thing retrieve minerals that were lost due to the processing. It is smart to just eat a variety of both processed and not processed foods so you can make sure you are getting minerals naturally and from enrichment. Since minerals absorb differently, you will get better absorption from those obtained from animals compared to plants.
Water consumption and staying hydrated is a vital key not only in staying healthy, but staying alive. You are only able to stay alive for a few days without water, while you can go about 8 weeks without food. According to Grosvenor & Smolin (2006). “Water bathes the cells of the body and lubricates and cleanses internal and external body surfaces.” Water helps minerals and vitamins dissolve in our bodies by chemical reactions. Metabolism is a chemical reaction that is assisted by water. Dehydration is a dangerous thing that can happen from not drinking enough water and staying properly hydrated.
I have known many people that have personally dealt with and even experienced dehydration myself. Headaches, fatigue, dry mouth, feeling thirsty, dry eyes/mouth, and dark urine are all symptoms you may experience at the first signs of dehydration. Once it gets more serious, dehydration can cause confusion, nausea, difficulty concentrating, and disorientation where you should get medical attention. If not treated, a loss of 10% – 20% of body weight in water can potentially kill a person (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006). Vomiting, diarrhea, excessive heat, and loosing water through exercising are all ways dehydration can be caused. “Dehydration, a depletion of body water, will cause symptoms more rapidly than a deficiency of any other nutrient” (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006).
Grosvenor, M.B. & Smolin, L.A. (2006). Nutrition: Everyday choices, Minerals provide structure and regulate function. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.