There are basic minerals for the body such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and magnesium.
Calcium: It helps to form and maintain teeth and bones blood to clot, in regulating cardiac rhythm and helps normal contraction of muscles. Calcium provides endurance and vitality, modifies menstrual pains, and strengthens nerves. It also dispels depressed moods, loss of sleep, allergies of various organs, irritability of temper. Calcium deficiency is common in aged persons, menopausal state, inebriated persons, smokers, etc.
For absorption of calcium vitamin C and D are required. Its natural sources are milk; and its products, leaf and green vegetables, citrus fruits, pea-nuts, beans, sunflower seeds, soybeans, pulses, etc. If calcium deficiency is not made up from the above and other sources the body takes up calcium from a person’s bones. Calcium in conjunction with magnesium, helps in maintaining the well-being of the cardiovascular system.
Phosphorus: It is required for normal structure of teeth and bones and also for changing food enzymes into energy. It helps in the absorption of calcium but, if in excess, it can make calcium uptake difficult. Phosphorus deficiency manifests itself in the form of general debility, pain in bones and lowered appetite.
It keeps to excrete, promotes nervous health, hastens the healing process, and does not let calcium escape from the site of injury. Fat rich diet and crystal sugar proper phosphorus. Calcium balance, whereas excess of magnesium/ iron can block storage of phosphorus. Important sources of phosphorus are milk and milk products, seeds, nuts,and whole grain cereals, pulses, beans etc. Its supply to bone is adversely affected if antacids are used. It should never be taken by anyone of one’s own, except under medical advice.
Potassium: Life would not have been possible without potassium which is a key mineral. Whole body chemistry is liable to be disturbed if the body were to take it from the cells. Its deficiency will create a craving in pregnant women to eat day/mid. Its deficiency can cause weakness in muscle, irregular heart-beats, and irritable temperament but, its excess can cause various heart irregularities.
It is essential for maintaining normal functions of nerves, muscles, cardiac functions and enzyme reactions, apart from regulating and balancing body fluids. Advancing age demands potassium in greater quantities for getting over muscle fatigue, inability to relax, constipation, itching on skin, nausea and cramps in the muscles. If such symptoms surface and even in younger persons, it indicates deficiency of potassium.
Higher intake of potassium can divest walls of blood vessels free from calcium deposits. Apple cider vinegar is an excellent source of potassium which if sipped slowly will emulsify fat, reduce high blood pressure, may also improve joint mobility. It does not raise blood pressure. Potassium deficiency could easily be circumvented by a cup of coffee in moderate quantity. It will also modify symptoms arising out of diarrhoea, liver torpidity, sweating or excessive use of diuretics.
Its usual sources are dates, wheat germ, potatoes, cabbage, peas, peanuts, dried powder of skimmed milk, seeds but above all from apple cider vinegar and paprika. Its daily intake is about 275 gms daily. More intake of sodium will increase loss of potassium, from inside the body cells.
Magnesium: Even if it is an insignificant mineral, it is found in each cell of the human body. The imbalance between the calcium-magnesium ratio can affect the nervous system, though our body contains hardly 50gms of it but, even then, its importance cannot be denied or overlooked. It helps to metabolize vitamin E and calcium.
Its low content may even cause cancer, apart from causing diabetes. It can be obtained from pulses, grain cereals, green and leafy vegetables, sea-food, dairy products and pulses.
Sodium : It assists in maintaining water-balance, inside and outside of the body. If taken in excess, it can triffer up blood pressure, cancer of the liver, congestive cardiac disorders, renal diseases but its deficiency can result in edema, cramps in muscles. It is lost from our body through sweat and urine.
It is not easily obtained from the content of sodium found in foods hence its deficiency is made up by common table salt (Sodium chloride). Its excessive intake is far more dangerous than its depletion which can be easily compensated from processed food and sodium itself.