How do human cells get minerals

The 5 most important minerals for our body

Table of Contents

  1. magnesium
  2. Calcium
  3. potassium
  4. sodium
  5. phosphorus
  6. Knowledge to take away

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is not only an important mineral for athletes. Because it is necessary for the activation of almost all enzymes in the energy and protein metabolism in the human organism.

Without sufficient magnesium, metabolic processes (carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism) in the body cannot run at the required speed. Besides calcium and phosphorus, magnesium is responsible for the mineralization of bones and teeth.

Good news for vegetarians: Magnesium is mainly found in plant-based foods. Whole grain products, vegetables, soybeans and nuts are ideal sources of the mineral.

Magnesium is also found in fish and meat, but in smaller quantities. Mineral water is also rich in magnesium. Therefore, drink enough, especially after and during exercise.

Magnesium is essential for many processes in the body. Plant-based foods are particularly good sources of the mineral, but meat and fish also contain small amounts of magnesium.

2. Calcium

In quantitative terms, calcium is the most important mineral for our body. It is especially important for the building of bones and teeth and is essential for the viability of cells. Calcium is also involved in many other processes in our body. For this reason, there must always be a certain calcium concentration in our blood.

If there is a calcium deficiency, the organism uses the bones to store calcium. The mineral is then released from the bones and released into the blood. If this happens permanently, it can lead to osteoporosis (bone loss).

Teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 need the most calcium at 1200 milligrams per day. Adults, pregnant women and breastfeeding women should consume around 1000 milligrams of calcium. Milk and milk products are particularly rich in calcium. Mineral water also contains a lot of calcium. The mineral is also found in vegetables such as kale, broccoli, rocket and fennel.

Hazelnuts and Brazil nuts are also high in calcium. You can find more calcium sources for vegans here. However, our body is less able to utilize calcium from plant sources than it can from dairy products.

Calcium is the most important mineral in terms of quantity, as it is essential for the viability of cells, among other things. Permanent calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis.

3. Potassium

After calcium, phosphorus and sulfur, potassium is the fourth most abundant element in our body. It is almost exclusively present inside our cells and is very important for their function. The mineral is primarily required for energy production and, together with proteins and phosphate, ensures the osmotic pressure in the cells.

Potassium also regulates the balance of acids and bases and is involved in the regulation of the water-electrolyte balance. In addition, potassium is required for the functions of muscle stimuli, muscle contractions, enzymes and kidneys.

So it is extremely important for our body. The good thing is that the mineral is found in many foods. Potassium is particularly found in fruits and vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard and lamb's lettuce. Whole grain bread, meat and fish are also good suppliers. However, larger amounts are lost through cooking. The DGE estimates an adequate potassium intake for women and men at 4000 milligrams per day. Breastfeeding women have an increased need of 4400 milligrams per day (1).

Potassium plays a key role in the function of cells, such as energy production. In addition, the mineral regulates the acid-base balance, among other things.

4. Sodium

Sodium is an alkali metal that reacts with oxygen and water and was discovered with potassium in the 18th century. Sodium is an important bio-element for the human body. A male body contains around 100 grams of sodium, a female 77 grams.

Together with potassium, chloride and calcium, sodium regulates the water balance and the internal fluid pressure (osmotic pressure) of the body. Sodium is also involved in the composition of blood fluid and blood pressure and controls the balance of the acid-base balance and the digestive juices. The kidneys or hormones regulate the sodium balance and excess sodium is excreted.

Sodium is found in almost all foods. Fruits, vegetables, and mineral water contain sodium. However, the content of mineral salts in foods plays only a minor role in daily salt intake.

The main intake of sodium comes from consuming industrially produced foods and seasoning them during cooking. We consume half of the salt every day through bread and pastries and around 30 percent from meat and sausage products. Cured and smoked meat products in particular have a very high salt content. Chips, savory snacks and ready meals also contain a lot of salt.

The 10 most sodium-rich foods include:

Information per 100 grams
Salted herring5930 mg
Pollack in oil2900 mg
Matjes herring2500 mg
Caviar (substitute)2120 mg
B√ľndner meat2100 mg
Green olives, marinated2100 mg
Salt sticks, pretzels1790 mg
tomato ketchup1300 mg
Cervelatwurst1260 mg
Brie cheese (50% fat in dry matter)1170 mg

Unfortunately, the salt intake of many people is often far too high, which can have negative consequences for blood pressure. According to the DGE, an adequate sodium intake for adults is 1,500 milligrams (1). However, this value is usually exceeded because the intake of table salt is 3-13 grams, of which around 40 percent is sodium. It is recommended to consume a maximum of 6 grams of table salt (1 heaped teaspoon) daily.

Heavy sweating or physical exertion increases the need for sodium, as this is excreted.

Sodium regulates, among other things, the water balance and the internal fluid pressure of the body. The mineral is also involved in the composition of blood fluid and blood pressure.

5. Phosphorus

Besides calcium, phosphorus is the most common mineral in our body and is particularly needed for building bones and teeth. It is also crucial for energy generation and utilization.

The average phosphorus content in an adult body is 600 to 700 grams, 85 percent of which is needed for building bones and teeth, the remaining 15 percent is in the muscles, brain, liver, blood and other organs.

Since phosphorus is sometimes present in large quantities in many foods, a phosphorus deficiency only occurs in rare cases. The mineral is found in cereals, potatoes, meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs and legumes, for example.

Fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, contain relatively little phosphorus. Phosphate is often added to industrially produced foods during production.

Phosphorus is important for the structure of bones and teeth and plays a major role in generating and utilizing energy.

Knowledge to take away

Some minerals, which the body cannot produce itself, are vital and must therefore be ingested through food. The five most important minerals are potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium.

These minerals are found in a wide variety of foods and are involved in various processes in the body. Sodium, for example, regulates the water balance and the internal fluid pressure of the body.

Phosphorus, on the other hand, is essential for the structure of bones and teeth, among other things. Potassium and magnesium play a key role in the function of cells, whereas magnesium is involved in metabolic processes (carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism).