Minerals are currently described as chemical substances or inorganic compounds essential for the proper functioning of the body. These are classified into two groups, macrominerals, and microminerals.
In the normal diet, macrominerals are those that the body needs in larger amounts. This group includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, chlorine, and sodium.
The functions of each of the macrominerals are very broad, and some are still unknown. However, they are necessary for the body’s functions to develop normally. Specialists explain that the best way to obtain them is through diet.
This macromineral is one of the most abundant elements in nature, and its importance is so great that our own structure depends on it. Our bones and teeth store 99% of the calcium we have in the body. While the other remaining 1% is found in the blood and extracellular fluids. It is also necessary for cardiovascular, muscular and nervous conduction. The calcium stored in the bones can be extracted and mobilized for use in the blood in case of deficiency, unlike the calcium stored in teeth, which is fixed in them for life. It is important to consume it in foods such as milk, derived from milk (cheese and yoghurt), sesame, spinach and sardines. Some processed foods are enriched with this macromineral.
This macromineral closely related to calcium has as its main function the formation of bones and teeth. It groups with certain lipids to form phospholipids, essential components in cell membranes and nervous tissue. Likewise, phosphorus is needed to produce the molecule from which we obtain energy at the cellular level (ATP) and for a good muscle contraction, among others. It is difficult to have a phosphorus deficiency, as it is found in meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and as an emulsifier in many foods. Its excess can cause osteoporosis.
Magnesium is found in bone and participates in hundreds of processes of synthesis, metabolism, neuromuscular transmission, etc. Symptoms of this macromineral deficiency are increased neuromuscular excitability, spasms, and paresthesias. Its excessive intake is only considered dangerous in the case of kidney failure. The main sources of magnesium are nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Potassium exerts an action complementary to sodium in the functioning of cells, but unlike sodium, potassium is the main intracellular cation. It plays a vital role in maintaining the hydroelectric balance and cellular integrity; in nerve transmission and cell contraction. The daily needs of this macromineral are estimated at 3,500 mg for an adult.
The main sources of potassium are fruits, vegetables, and fresh vegetables, mainly potatoes (570 mg / 100 g of edible part) and bananas (350 mg / 100 g), nuts, legumes, cocoa and chocolate, milk and, especially, the lyophilized coffee (4000 mg / 100 g of product). Low-potassium diets can increase blood pressure.
It is a macromineral that when entering the body is reduced to form part of many critical organic molecules for the human body. It is a fundamental part in the formation of proteins and minerals. Its intake through the diet from amino acids such as methionine and cysteine provides all the necessary sulfur for the human body. It can be ingested in foods rich in sulfur such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, broccoli and cauliflower. Because it is found in a wide variety of foods, deficiency of this macromineral is rare and studied.
Chlorine is a macromineral that is part of the common salt, along with sodium. It also participates very actively in digestive processes. It is also an electrolyte, completing the trio with potassium and sodium.
It participates in the osmotic balance: concentration of substances inside and outside the cells. It is also part of the gastric hydrochloric acid that participates in the digestion and intervenes in the digestion of fats.
The main function of this macromineral is to stimulate and transport electrical impulses throughout the nervous system and muscles. It also participates in the functioning of the renal system and in the balance of fluids within the body.
When there is sodium deficiency, a disorder known as hyponatremia occurs; therefore, both excess and deficiency of sodium in the body can trigger health problems. Its consumption in the diet through meat and vegetables is ideal, although there are processed foods that are enriched with sodium and can provide the necessary sodium to a large extent.
Macrominerals are very important in the body; however, sometimes the importance given to the other biomolecules (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and vitamins) is so great that the importance of macrominerals is forgotten. The ideal is to take the necessary macrominerals through a balanced and healthy diet. Still, currently, there are several supplements that can be another measure to ensure good levels of macrominerals in the body. Do not forget the importance of a balanced diet in the care of the body.