Together, minerals make up a mere four per cent of your body, but their role in its effective functioning is crucial. Girgaum based family physician, Dr Krishnakant Dhebri sees five patients with mineral deficiency every day (vegetarians are worse hit) defines essential minerals as “keystones to our health”. It’s a fitting label considering they help carry out crucial functions, and a deficiency leads to worrying symptoms. “A poor diet is often the key reason for mineral deficiency,” says Dhebri, adding, “Commonly, patients are found deficient in iron, iodine and


The right diet plays a key role here since the body doesn’t produce minerals naturally, which means we must rely on what we eat to acquire them in the right quantity. A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, and seven hours of sleep are a must if your body is to be replenished adequately. Calcium Recommended daily allowance: 1,000 mg/day (women), 1,200 mg/day (men) Function: Builds and maintains strong bones and teeth; helps with muscle function; controls cell function, communication and signalling. Cause and effect: Low levels make you prone to osteoporosis and easy fracture. More of it leads to uneasiness, high BP, kidney and gall bladder stone. Sources: Almonds, figs, carrots, raisins, brown rice, garlic, dates, spinach, sesame, cashew, papaya, celery.


Recommended dietary allowance: 2,000 mg/day (men and women) Function: Essential for nerve function, muscle contraction, maintaining BP and a healthy balance of water in blood and body tissues. Cause and effect: Deficiency can cause anxiety, fatigue and decreased heart rate. Excess of potassium causes hypertension. Sources: Oranges, bananas, peanuts, beans, coconut water, spinach.


Recommended dietary allowance: 70 mcg (men), 55 mcg (women) Function: Helps in sperm formation, protects cells from damage and regulates thyroid function. Cuts risk of prostate, lung and colorectal cancer. Cause and effect: A deficiency can cause muscle weakness, cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and immune dysfunction. Sources: Organ meats, tuna, crabs, grains, spices.


Recommended dietary allowance: 1,500 mg (men), 1,300 mg (women). Function: Helps regulate water in blood and tissue. Cause and effect: Low levels lead to fatigue, a feeling of indifference, mental confusion, nausea and muscle cramps. Sources: Table salt, papad, lime juice and dairy products.


Recommended dietary allowance: 15 mg (men), 12 mg (women) Function: Boosts immunity (especially against lower respiratory tract infection, cold and cough), reproduction and the nervous system. Useful in blood clotting. Cause and effect: Deficiency leads to dermatitis, abnormal pregnancy and poor eyesight, abnormal sense of taste and smell. Sources: Red meat, almonds, peanuts, chickpeas, soy foods, dairy products, mushrooms, liver and sunflower seeds.

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