What are Minerals?
Minerals are naturally occurring homogenous inorganic substances with a specific chemical composition and characteristic crystalline structure. Minerals are found in plants and animal foods along with your drinking water. Many times the quantities of minerals found in these sources are too small. Since the stresses associated with sport activity promote the loss of various minerals, it becomes more important to increase your mineral intake. Below are some of the minerals to physical performance.
Calcium: The most abundant mineral in your body. It help to make up your teeth and bones and is needed for muscle contractions. Only about ten percent of the calcium in dairy products is absorbed in your body. No wonder many people are deficient in this minerals. An athlete deficient in calcium may experience stress fractures. Good sources of calcium are dairy products and calcium carbonate supplements.
Magnesium: Another mineral essential to muscle contraction, notably in the relaxation phase. A lack of magnesium produces fatigue, spasms, muscle twitching, and muscle weakness. Foods that provide quality magnesium are soybeans, leafy vegetables, brown rice, whole wheat, apples, seeds, and nuts.
Phosphorus: The second most abundant mineral in your body. It is involved in muscle contractions and helps in the utilization of foodstuffs. By consuming large quantities of phosphorus you might experience depletion of calcium and magnesium in your bones, muscle and organs, and have weakness. Fish and poultry contain quality phosphorus.
Iron: Essential in making hemoglobin or oxygen in your blood and crucial in the transportation of oxygen during endurance activities. An intake of more than 50 milligrams a day for prolonged periods can be toxic. Interestingly, coffee and tea consumption can limit the absorption of iron. The best source if iron is meat. Even cooking in an iron skillet can increase the iron content in your food.
Copper: Helps to convert iron to hemoglobin and promotes the use of vitamin C.
Most foods have copper in them.
Zinc: Responsible for cell growth by acting as an agent in protein synthesis. Also aids in the use of vitamin A and B-complex vitamins. It prolongs muscle contractions and therefore increases your endurance. Sources include eggs, whole grains, and oysters.
Manganese: A mineral essential in numerous functions including glandular secretions, the metabolism of protein and brain function. Too much manganese can inhibit the absorption of iron. Food sources are tea, leafy, green, vegetables and whole grains.
Sodium and Potassium: Minerals that need ti have a balance for maximal muscular power. These minerals are needed in the transmission of nerves impulses. Deficiencies will produce cramping and weakness. Good sources are green leafy, vegetables, bananas, citrus and dries fruits. Incidentally, salt tables for sodium intake are a no-no!