Essential Minerals Sodium, Chlorine & Magnesium

ESSENTIAL MINERALS IN OUR BODY PART III -Sodium, Chlorine & Magnesium

Nutrients are the key to our well being. Among the collection of nutrients, minerals are one of the chief driving factors of all the chemical reactions in our body and hence facilitate the proper functioning of the machinery within our body. Essential Minerals are categorized as – Macrominerals and Microminerals.

Although in its overall relationship about 60 different minerals have been identified in the body, the 21 essential minerals listed below would make up about five pounds of the total body structure, and are vital requirements in order for the human body to function properly.  Follow the series of articles over the next few weeks to learn just how important Minerals are, especially during the early years of life.

Macrominerals

Calcium

Phosphorus

Potassium

Sulphur

Sodium

Chlorine

Magnesium

 

 

Microminerals or Trace Elements

Iron

Iodine

Zinc

Selenium

Manganese

Copper

Cobalt

Molybdenum

Chromium

Fluorine

Silicon

Vanadium

Nickel

Tin    

All you need is 4 gm of sodium everyday to let it work its magic in your body.  The most trusted supplier of sodium is our table salt. Apart from that, seafood, eggs, carrot, celery, cauliflower, pineapple and even fresh cow’s milk can deliver your daily dose of sodium to the body. You will be happy to know that our body hardly runs out of sodium but when it does so, we are tormented by its consequences like vomiting, diarrhoea (or diarrhea), muscle cramps, headache, giddiness, weight loss and many more.Apart from the four minerals discussed previously, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Sulphur, there are many more that work relentlessly in our body system to run it properly and thus help us stay fit. Let us take a look at three more such minerals, without which our body mechanisms would be in jeopardy.

SODIUM

There are several electrolytes present in the extracellular fluid which watch the exchange of water between cells and maintain a fluid balance in the process. Sodium is predominant among them all. Their ionic form is crucial to transmit messages via nerve impulse through nerves and aid in muscle contraction as the same time. Several undesirable conditions like confusion and lethargy pop up with a change in the concentration of sodium in the brain, thus preventing the brain from working properly. Sodium is equally responsible for a healthy heart by keeping the blood pressure under control. An optimal pH balance is essential for executing several physiological functions like formation of urine in kidneys and without sodium they would go awry. Apart from taking care of your physiology, sodium can also boost your beauty quotient by getting rid of the free radicals and slowing down the aging process. 

Sodium level in the body however, can shoot up at an alarming rate more often and increase the risk of kidney damage, stroke and other cardiac ailments. In order to avoid such risks, adopt a healthy diet which includes half cup of cooked veggies and two cups of fresh fruits.

Don’t miss out high potassium food in your diet to balance out excess sodium in your meals. Add salt after meal is cooked and after tasting to avoid adding excess.

CHLORINE

Our discussion on the essential electrolyte in the body would be incomplete without the mention of chlorine which form compounds with other elements within the cells, extracellular fluid, gastric juice while it dwells in RBC as chloride ions. Just like any other electrolytes, they pump fluid in and out of the cells, maintain an optimal pH in the body, and allow the nerve cells to function ably in addition to assisting in muscular contraction. The chloride ion fine-tunes any variations in ratio of NA-K concentration, a vital factor to run physiological processes.

 The exact amount of chlorine which our body needs has not been determined yet but as you consume table salt for your sodium supply, you are also feeding your body with chloride ions at the same time. Barley, pulses (legumes), wheat, green vegetables, pineapple and melons can also provide you with adequate supply of chlorine. But failing to incorporate them in your diet might lead to chlorine imbalance in the body with symptoms similar to that caused by disparity in our internal sodium levels. So make a point to eat chlorine rich food regularly to avoid the chances of low chlorine hazards.

MAGNESIUM

Energy is the fuel to run every function in the body and without its adequate supply they will come to a sudden halt, thus endangering one’s very existence. Magnesium, an essential nutritional mineral, works at cellular and molecular level to facilitate oxygen uptake and utilise it for producing energy. About 300 biochemical reactions will start malfunctioning without magnesium and affect the general physiology of the body simultaneously.

Magnesium preserves the cell integrity and is also responsible for maintaining the electrolytic balance in the body. Thus magnesium is directly in charge of the nervous and muscle activities. We also owe our strong bones, healthy immunity and controlled blood sugar levels to magnesium to a great extent.

But lack of adequate amount of this mineral causes distress to each organ in the body. The contractility of the muscles is impaired as a consequence of which muscular pain, jaw joint dysfunction, constipation and menstrual as well as urinary cramps, chest tightness begin to haunt the body. Treat your body with a daily dose of 350 mg magnesium through healthy diet of pulses (legumes), green vegetables and whole grain wheat flour to minimize any health troubles caused by lack of magnesium.

By Liya Das

Read more in the Series:

The importance of potassium & sulphur 

Essential minerals in our body

The imporance of iron & iodine

The importance of zinc & selenium

The importance of manganese, copper, & cobalt

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