Calcium, magnesium and phosphorus are major minerals needed by your body. A mineral is a naturally occurring element that must be part of your diet. Most minerals help maintain fluid and electrolyte balance around the body and within cells. The health benefits of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus extend far beyond fluid balance.
According to "Nutrition" by Frances Sizer and Eleanor Whitney, calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. In addition to helping regulate your heartbeat, calcium is the building block of your bones. As you age, bone mineral density declines, which can put you at risk of fracture. If bone mineral density decreases enough, you can develop a disease known as osteoporosis. Peak bone mass is developed around 30 years of age. It is essential that you eat the recommended amount of calcium each day in your early adult life and beyond, because eating enough calcium can prevent or delay excess bone loss. A healthy adult should eat 1,000 mg of calcium per day. After the age of 51, the recommended dose extends to 1,200 mg per day.
Magnesium is not needed in large doses for the body, however it does help with some essential bodily functions. Magnesium aids in muscle relaxation during activity. It also assists in producing certain proteins and energy. In addition, it helps your body make many essential enzymes. Enzymes are important because they are the precursor to hormone release and operation of functions throughout the body. An adult male should try to get 400 to 420 mg per day, while an adult female needs 310 to 320 mg per day.
Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body. Both DNA and RNA contain phosphorus, which makes it important for growth and cellular reproduction. Phosphorus also helps the breakdown of nutrients by releasing the potential energy stored inside of the food you eat. It is also makes up part of the phospholipids that surround cells. Phospholipids help protect and regulate what goes in and out of each cell. Adults are encouraged to eat 1,000 mg per day of phosphorus.
A healthy and well-balanced diet should provide each of these three minerals. Calcium is best when obtained from dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese. It is also found in certain vegetables like broccoli and greens. Magnesium is contained in fruits like bananas and avocados. It can also be found in nuts, legumes, soy products and brown rice. Phosphorus is found in abundance in meat products. These include steak and salmon. You can also get phosphorus in beans, milk and certain cheeses.
- "Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies"; Francis Sizer and Eleanor Whitney; 2003.
- MedLinePlus: Magnesium in Diet