This Article is About
minerals
sodium chloride
protein foods
amino acids
high blood pressure
More Minerals
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Phosphorus

It is the next most plentiful mineral. It is a major component of bones and teeth and in addition it has vital functions in cell membranes, genetic material, maintaining an acid-base balance in the blood and tissues and energy production. It is highest in animal produce, but is present in so many plants that deficiency is unlikely in almost any diet. However, excess is a distinct possibility if you enjoy animal produce and fizzy drinks, because both are high in phosphorus. When the phosphorus:calcium ratio is too high, the body remove removes the excess phosphorus but unfortunately removes calcium from the bones at the same time.

Surphur

No need to worry about getting enough sulphur as long as you are getting enough food. At 150g in the body there is plenty of it, mainly in the structure of various proteins. It comes in all protein foods, both plants and animal as it is part of a number of amino acids and is used for building and stabilizing proteins in the body. There is so much available in food that there are no known symptoms of deficiency.

Sodium, Chloride and Potassium

These are electrolytes, minerals with positive or negative electrical charges. They are vitally important in balancing the amounts and concentrations of the body fluids, both inside and outside the cells and in the blood. In this way they affect the function of every organ and tissue.

Sodium

It has its main role in the blood and the fluids outside the cells. It maintains fluid balance and is particularly vital in the function of muscles and nerves. It is available in nature that there is no known diet that lacks it. Excess is common however, a result of eating too much of salt (Sodium Chloride). Savoury snacks and many processed foods are very high in salt. Animal produce, whether dairy or meat, is also high in sodium. High-sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and some cancers.

Potassium

This is the main electrolyte in the fluid inside the cells. It also has critical roles in maintaining fluid balance and in the function of muscles and nerves. Another function is controlling the action of the heart. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources. Deficiency is possible in some illnesses and with the use of some diuretic which is dangerous too.

Chlorine

It works with sodium outside the cells and with potassium inside the cells and with potassium inside them. It is abundant in food and dietary deficiency is rare but the water and electrolyte balance can be upset by severe vomiting and diarrhea and by excessive sweating with dehydration. These conditions call for urgent fluid and electrolyte replacement. Too much salt in dangerous but too little salt can be fatal too, which is why marathon runners need to replace electrolytes as well as water.

How much salt do we need

The Food Standards Agency recommends not more than 6g a day a teaspoonful. The average person in the UK takes 9.5g a day and most of this salt comes from processed and packaged food. We can limit salt by avoiding the high-salt snack foods, choosing home cooking rather than packet soup, sauces and ready meals, and by eating plenty of fruit. Salt makes taste nice, so the manufacturers act accordingly and add more than we need. Our taste buds are not a good guide until we have educated them but they can be re-educated and once we are used to less salt, we won’t miss it. It is possible to have too little salt. We lose salt in sweat, so vigorous activity in hot weather may call for extra salt.


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