Minerals: Their Functions and Sources

Minerals: Their Functions and Sources

Minerals are chemical elements that are required by the human body for daily normal functioning. The body uses these minerals for different jobs like regulating the heartbeat, making hormones, and building bones. Hence, they are also called essential minerals.

These minerals are divided into macrominerals (major minerals) and microminerals (trace minerals). Both these two groups are equally important and eating a balanced diet usually provides all these needed minerals.


These minerals are required in larger levels in our body for proper functioning. The following minerals make up this group:

  1. Sodium

Function: Needed for muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and proper fluid balance.

Source: Unprocessed meats, vegetables, bread, small amounts in milk, large amounts in processed food, soy sauce, and table salt.

  1. Chloride

Function: Needed for stomach acid and proper fluid balance

Source: Vegetables, bread, meats, small amounts in milk, large amounts in processed food, soy sauce, and table sauce.

  1. Potassium

Function: Needed for Muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and proper fluid balance

Source: Legumes, whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, milk, and meats.

  1. Calcium

Function: Needed for the immune health system, blood pressure regulation, blood clotting, nerve functioning, relaxing and contraction of muscle, and maintaining healthy teeth and bones.

Source:  Legumes, green vegetables (mustard greens, broccoli), fortified soy milk, fortified tofu, canned fish with bones (sardines, salmon), calcium supplements, milk products, and milk.

  1. Phosphorus

Function: Needed for part of the system that maintains the acid-base balance and maintaining teeth and bones; found in every cell as well.

Source: Processed foods (like soda pop), milk, eggs, poultry, fish, and meat.

  1. Magnesium

Function: Needed for maintaining the immune system, muscle contraction, making protein, and found in bones.

Source: ‘Hard’ drinking water, artichokes, chocolate, seafood, green and leafy vegetables, legumes, and seeds and nuts.

  1. Sulfur

Function: Needed for protein molecules.

Source: Nuts, legumes, milk, eggs, fish, poultry, and meats.


Also known as trace minerals, microminerals are needed in smaller amounts in our diet. The following minerals fit into this group:

  1. Iron

Function: Needed for energy metabolism; found in RBC that carries oxygen throughout the body.

Source: Fortified cereals, iron-enriched cereals and bread, dark and leafy greens, dried fruits, legumes, egg yolks, shellfish (especially clams), poultry, fish, red meats, and organ meats.

  1. Zinc

Function: Needed for the immune system, sexual maturation and normal growth, fetal development, wound healing, and making genetic material and protein.

Source: Vegetables, leavened whole grains, poultry, fish, and meats.

  1. Iodine

Function: Found in the thyroid, which helps in metabolism, development, and growth regulation.

Source: Dairy products, bread, iodized salt, food grown in iodine-rich soil, and seafood.

  1. Selenium

Function: Used as an antioxidant

Source: Grains, seafood, and meats.

  1. Copper

Function: Needed for iron metabolism; a part of many enzymes.

Source: Drinking water, organ meats, whole grains, seeds and nuts, and legumes.

  1. Manganese

Function: Part of several different types of enzymes

Source: Found in all sorts of foods, especially plant-based foods

  1. Fluoride

Function: Needed for preventing tooth decay; involved in the formation of teeth and bones.

Source: Most teas, fish (either naturally-containing fluoride or fluoridated), and drinking water.

  1. Chromium

Function: Regulates with insulin to regulate glucose (sugar) levels.

Source: Cheese, nuts, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, unrefined food (especially liver)

  1. Molybdenum

Function: Part of some enzymes

Source: Liver, milk, green vegetables, leafy greens, grains and bread, and legumes.

Being deficient in any of these minerals can have an adverse effect on your health. Hence, it is advised that you eat a balanced diet to keep your body healthy and moving forward.

Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Beef — What’s the Difference?

Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Beef — What’s the Difference?

At one time, steak used to be just steak; there was no problem understanding that. Today, it is not that simple. A quick look at the butcher’s counter will show you all the kinds of cuts you never knew about, along with fancy breeds like Kobe, Wagyu, and Angus. And then, when you thought you have finally made the decision, you are faced with two types of fed beef – the grass-fed beef and the grain-fed beef. Apart from the obvious price differences, there are a lot of dissimilarities between the two.

What is grass-fed beef?

As the name suggests, this type of beef comes from cattle that have grazed on grassy meadows their complete lives. This type of beef tends to be more expensive than their corn-fed counterparts because it takes a longer time for grass-fed cattle to reach their processing weight. Without corn or grain to bulk up the diet, this method of raising cattle is much more costly for the rancher.

What is corn-fed beef?

This type of beef comes from cattle who are initially fed grass but is later fed grain or corn. This is normally done to bulk and increase the fat to muscle ratio. This particular diet adds a lot of flavor to the beef because it is almost like feeding cakes and candies to the cow. Since grains are not typically fed to cattle, a lot of preventive antibiotics are used to keep them from getting sick.

Differences in fatty acid composition

What cows consume can have a major effect on the resulting beef’s composition, particularly when it comes to fatty acid composition. Grass-fed beef tends to contain lesser fat content than grain-fed beef, which in turn means that grass-fed beef contains lesser calories.

But the overall composition of the fatty acid is also different. Grass-fed beef contains less monounsaturated fat and contains five times more omega-3 and twice as much CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, than grain-fed beef. Both varieties contain similar amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats.

Grass-fed beef is considered much more nutritious

Both varieties of beef contain highly concentrated amounts of nutrients like Vitamin B6, B3, and B12. They are also rich in minerals like zinc, selenium, and iron. Overall, beef contains most of the nutrients required for sustenance.

While the differences in nutrient content are not so great, grass-fed beef contains a lot of Vitamin A and E. It also has more antioxidant content than its grain-fed counterpart.

Is grass-fed beef worth the extra cost?

It is important to understand that even grain-fed beef is healthy as well.  Until you overcook the dish, beef is considered to be a nutritious source of various vitamins and minerals to be a part of a healthy diet. In most countries, grass-fed beef is very expensive and might not be worth the cost for some people. Additionally, grass-fed beef tends to be leaner and has a different texture.

Even though grass-fed beef might contain more nutrients, there is no compelling differences between the two. The choice falls upon your taste, ideals, and preferences.

4 Foods That Can Help You Build Toned Abs

4 Foods That Can Help You Build Toned Abs

Even after doing exhausting workout sessions, is getting toned and fit abs still beyond your reach?

The culprit here maybe your belly fat… Sometimes the fat can mask your toned muscles. To burn your belly fat exercise alone is not sufficient.

You have to make specific dietary changes. Fortunately, we have the right tips for you. Here are four foods that will complement your exercise sessions and help you gain ripped abs you have dreamed of.

  1. Broccoli

Before we go into the benefits of Broccoli, you should know that it is not possible to just reduce fat from one part of your body specifically. You have to lose weight to reduce flabby tissue overall.

One effective food that can get rid of your belly fat is broccoli. This vegetable is rich in nutrients and fiber and is a low calorie food you should add to your diet regularly if you want to lose weight.

The high fiber content helps you feel sated and not binge on food. Spinach, kale and other such dark green vegetables also help you get rid of belly fat.

  1. Eggs

Rich in protein, eggs are ideal for any meal of the day. They are especially good for fitness freaks. The nutrient choline in eggs helps boost metabolism and helps in burning body fat when eggs are taken before your workout session.

Having eggs for your breakfast helps shred your abs and lose weight. Hard-boiled eggs taken as an afternoon snack is also a great way to tone your ab muscles.

  1. Green tea

Several studies have proven that green tea is effective for weight loss. Drinking green tea after your workout can help reduce the belly fat and reveal your tone abs.

The epigallocatechin gallate present in green tea is an effective fat burning chemical compound. Further, since green tea has zero calories, you can have as much of it as you can without any worries about gaining weight.

  1. Flaxseed

Adding flaxseed to your daily meals is a wonderful way to remove belly fat. Ground flaxseed contains a blend of insoluble and soluble dietary fiber.

This is very effective in cleansing the intestinal tract and it also helps in regulating the elimination of digested food. These actions help in getting rid of the internal belly fat.

Since belly fat is mostly caused by low fiber diet and resultant retention of fecal matter, the action of flaxseed helps in resolving the belly fat problem.

Another advantageous action of flaxseed is it binds to simple carbohydrates and sugars and releases them slowly in the bloodstream. This causes high endurance and energy levels in between meals.

While everyone aspires to have the perfectly tone, six pack abs, it is not that easy to attain. But with the right combination of diet and workouts, this is possible. Make sure you include the above four foods along with your regular fitness sessions. And ensure you perform exercises for strength and endurance and those that focus on your core and abs. A nutritious diet with fat burning ingredients can provide you the energy needed for your workouts and for boosting metabolism. Within a few weeks of following a proper diet and exercise regimen, you are sure to see the results you desire.



Top 5 ancient super foods

Top 5 ancient super foods

When it comes to healthy food consumption, the oldest forms of foods are best suited to our bodies. Evolutionarily speaking, our bodies are much older than we think they are and are well adapted to the foods that have been around for a long time. This is why the new culinary trends have witnessed the resurgence of many of these old super foods. Not only do these foods make up a healthy diet, but they also ward off diseases in the long run.

  1. Amaranth

As a grain that was first cultivated almost 8000 years ago, Amaranth is gluten-free and nutritious that has a variety of benefits. A diet high in Amaranth reduces cholesterol, chances of heart-related problems and inflammation. Amaranth is best used in soups to give them a proper thickness. Alternatively, it can be used as a substitute for rice.

  1. Chia Seeds

In earlier times, Chia seeds were well-known to boost energy and were used extensively by Aztec warriors before heading into battles. Nowadays, these can be found in most drinks, from yogurts to fruity drinks. Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This property of Chia seeds decrease the chances of heart diseases, reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol. Eating Chia seeds also promotes healthy skin, reduces signs of aging and curbs your appetite, thereby keeping you from excessive eating and piling up extra pounds.

  1. Black rice

Most people have heard of brown rice being better than white rice. But what about black rice? Black rice was consumed mainly in China and was linked to having a long and healthy life. It was even considered “forbidden rice” as only the Chinese emperor was allowed to eat it. Nevertheless, black rice was revered for its anti-oxidant properties. Scientists nowadays claim that consuming black rice may be linked to reduced chances of developing cancer later in life.

  1. Rye

Rye is a member of the wheat family and has been cultivated for hundreds of years. It contains fewer carbohydrates than wheat and is rich in vitamins and minerals. The high fiber content found in rye makes it more effective at treating constipation than any laxative or wheat-based product. Additionally, adding rye to your daily diet will also ensure the reduced risk of certain cancers like breast and colorectal cancers.

  1. Barley

Barley was used to feed the gladiators and the Roman army in Ancient Rome and for good reason too. It is nutritionally dense and packed with fibers. This slows down the digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer periods of time. The slow digestion stabilizes your blood sugar levels and keeps you energized for longer durations. Barley is linked to reducing bad cholesterol levels, thereby reducing chances of cardiovascular diseases. It is also rich in Vitamin-B that trims fat and promotes healthy functioning of the nervous system.

These are the top 5 ancient super foods that you should include in your diet to have a healthy and long life. Not only will these reduce the risk of developing a variety of diseases, but they will also keep you feeling energized for longer periods of time.



Best time to have green tea

Best time to have green tea

Green tea has become one of the most admired healthy drinks. As compared to other variants of tea, this tea does not involve any oxidation process. Hence, green tea is extremely healthier. The tea comprises of numerous vitamins, minerals, and other anti-inflammatory components. Additionally, it lessens the risk of several kinds of cancer and heart diseases.

Certainly, various health benefits and its weight-loss aid have made this drink the most favorite one among fitness and health enthusiasts. So, can you tell what the best time to have green tea is? If no, keep on reading further.

  1. Do not drink green tea too early

If you like to consume green tea in mornings, it is advised not to drink it on empty stomachs. It has a bad effect on the liver due to higher amounts of catechins. The tea has components known as catechins. Hence, you should keep a check on the consumption of green tea as the higher levels of catechins could damage the liver. So, it is best to consume green tea between 10 A.M. and 11 A.M.

  1. Have a cup of tea between meals

One can consume a cup of green tea amid meals. For instance, you can drink green tea two hours after or before a meal to maximize iron absorption and nutrient consumption. If you suffer from anemia, you should avoid consuming green tea alongside food. It is best to have a cup post-meal as it comprises of low calories. However, keep a gap of an hour after your meal instead of just taking it right after.

  1. Drink green tea before workouts

The best time to have green tea is before you go out for workout or exercise. As you know, green tea is known for burning out more fat due to the presence of caffeine in it. Plus, the tea can elevate energy levels. Thus, you can exercise for a long time.

  1. Take tea before you go to bed

It is advisable not to consume green tea before your bedtime. As stated earlier, green tea contains caffeine and hence, it can upset your sleep. Moreover, green tea even contains L-Theanine amino acid, which keeps you awake as well as makes you concentrate better.

That’s why you should have a cup of green tea two hours before you go to bed. At this moment, the metabolism rates are lower and green tea elevates them.

Meanwhile, it is advisable not to have more than three cups of green tea a day because of the caffeine content. If consumed in excess, it can result in dehydration and eliminate important elements from the system too.

The best time to have green tea is between 10 A.M. and 11 A.M. or you can go for an evening cup. However, do not consume it later in the evening as caffeine consumption may disrupt your sleep. So, avoid it at that time and remember to just take 2-3 cups a day if you want to have green tea.