Often when we think about a balanced diet we focus primarily on macros, calories, and portion size. Mineral intake is not necessarily something that everyone considers. Minerals play an essential role in all of our bodily functions, so its worth keeping in mind! Mineral deficiencies can lead to a variety of health concerns such as nerve damage, skin problems, lowered immunity, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and more. While mineral deficiencies are not a huge concern for most people, it is something to be aware of if you have any of these symptoms. Often people will seek medical treatment because they think it is a more serious health issue, instead of analyzing their diet and making proper adjustments there first. Many health-related issues can be resolved easily with simple dietary and lifestyle changes. There are a few main minerals that we are often lacking in, so to help, here are some tips to make sure you get enough of each.
Zinc can be found in many beans, legumes, and whole grains. But it is important to note that phytic acid found in these plants can hinder zinc absorption. By soaking or sprouting grains and beans before cooking, the phytic acid is reduced.
You can find iron in leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, whole grains, lentils, peas, and dried fruits. Adding foods rich in vitamin C will also help iron absorption.
Iodine is primarily found in the ocean, so sea vegetables are an excellent source of this mineral. Most table salt has iodine added to it, but if you are watching your sodium intake you may be at risk of a deficiency.
Dark green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, bok choy, broccoli, as well as fortified plant milks are great sources of calcium.
Dietary sources of magnesium include; whole grains, nuts, dark chocolate, and spinach.
Please note that anyone can be deficient in any vitamin or mineral, these are just the most common. The easiest way to prevent a nutrient deficiency is to eat a variety of fresh, whole foods. Most of us can get more than enough minerals from a balanced diet, but if you are struggling with keeping track of it all then taking a supplement is a good option. There are a multitude of supplement options on the market, but I prefer the Vega brand simply because they are a widely respected brand that uses quality plant-based ingredients and values environmental sustainability. All of their products are certified vegan and they have a huge variety to fit each persons needs. I would warn against supplementing for iron and calcium however as it is best to get these minerals from dietary sources.
More about mineral deficiency here: https://www.healthline.com/health/mineral-deficiency
Vega brand vitamins and supplements: www.myvega.com