Calcium, magnesium and zinc are essential minerals that are interrelated in their roles in your physical health. They regulate many body functions.
In addition, in adequate amounts, calcium, magnesium and zinc may preserve the quality of your life. Calcium benefits include strong bones, for fewer fractures. Getting enough magnesium may help to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. Pregnant women who increase zinc intake promote normal growth and development in their children.
Calcium benefits children throughout their lifetimes. Calcium provides the foundation for healthy teeth and bones, and helps muscle and nerve tissue develop. As a person matures, a consistent supply of calcium benefits muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, hormone secretion and the transmission of neural impulses.
Adequate dietary calcium helps prevent osteoporosis, or bone loss, late in life, and may play a part in preventing hypertension, some cancers and obesity. To reap these calcium benefits, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that adults ages 19 to 50 ingest 1000 mg per day. Calcium is found in high concentrations in dairy products and fish.
Magnesium, like calcium, is a mineral that is stored in the bones and affects bone health. It also participates in hundreds of chemical reactions in the body; therefore, it is crucial at all ages to have enough magnesium in the blood. Getting enough magnesium, like calcium, maintains healthy muscle and nerve function and blood pressure. Magnesium regulates heartbeat and blood sugar levels, and supports the immune system.
Adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet now can help you to avoid hypertension, diabetes and heart disease as you age. The USDA recommends 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men, ages 19 and up. To get enough magnesium, choose whole-grain breads, cereals and rice and dark green, leafy vegetables.
Unlike calcium and magnesium, zinc cannot be stored in the human body and must be replenished daily. A steady supply of this essential mineral aids in enzymatic actions. If you have a gastrointestinal disease affecting mineral absorption or retention, increase zinc in your diet.
Zinc assists in physical immunity, cell division and metabolism, and protein and DNA synthesis. Children should increase zinc in their diets. If you have a cold or a wound, increase zinc temporarily for its immune system boost and wound healing properties. The USDA lists 8 mg of zinc for women and 11 mg for men, ages 19 and up, as adequate daily intakes. For the biggest dietary boost of zinc, eat more oysters.