OK, so the minerals we consume in our daily diet aren’t actually rocks, but some of them are not that different from “rocks” in a technical sense! Minerals are inorganic elements that occur naturally in our environment. A rock, on the other hand, is often a combination of multiple minerals that have been crystallized and compressed over time. The minerals we eat have been converted into a bio-available form by plants, making it possible for us to digest and absorb them.
What is the Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals?
While vitamins are equally as necessary as minerals in your diet, their molecular makeup is different and they serve different purposes within the human body. Vitamins are organic compounds that can be broken down very quickly by way of water, heat, and sometimes even by light and air. They are found in most fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods, but can be lost through cooking or food preservation processes.
Minerals are inorganic elements that remain in a pure, simple form. They are also present in many plant-based foods, as well as meats and dairy products. While minerals are not broken down as easily during processing or cooking, they can be more difficult for the body to absorb and use. Minerals often depend on other nutrients to function as carriers in the digestion process; hence, a complete, balanced diet is key to optimum absorption. For example, without the presence of Vitamin D in the system, calcium cannot be absorbed by the body during digestion.
Unlike vitamins, minerals are not broken down inside the body; instead, they retain their chemical identity. This means they remain intact during digestion, absorption, circulation, and all the way to excretion.
Are Some Minerals More Important than Others?
There are over 16 minerals that are necessary to a healthy diet, and each one of them is essential in its own way. Some minerals, however, are needed in larger amounts than others. Major (or macro) minerals are present in larger quantities in the body; therefore, we need to eat more of them. Calcium and phosphorus, for example, could each account for more than a pound of your body weight. You’ll want to consume 100 mg. per day or more of the following macro minerals:
Trace or micro minerals, just as important, are required in much smaller quantities:
When it comes to vitamins, minerals, and all nutrients, it is always ideal to consume them from a wide variety of healthy foods. If you’re not sure you are receiving enough and would like to take a supplement, choose your sources carefully. Some low-quality multi-vitamins and mineral supplements really do contain minerals in the form of powdered rocks – mineral compounds that your body cannot digest or absorb. Go with mineral supplements that have been derived from natural, organic sources.
- What’s the Difference Between Organic Minerals and Powdered Rocks?
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