Whilst some metals can be dangerous to human health, such as lead, there are other metals which are considered beneficial, and in some cases essential, to a healthy lifestyle. We have listed some of the most common examples below – in most cases only a very small amount is required.
The benefits of Zinc include correct functioning of the immune and digestive systems as well as a reduction in stress levels. Zinc is found in cells throughout the human body and helps our immune systems fight off bacteria and viruses. A zinc deficiency can impair cell growth and tissue repair. Natural sources include oysters, chickpeas, nuts and wholegrains.
Magnesium is great for ensuring we have strong bones and teeth, as well as increasing energy and relieving muscle aches and spasms. It helps to maintain the body’s normal muscle and nerve functions as well as regulating blood sugar levels and maintaining a normal blood pressure. It is an essential mineral for staying healthy and alongside zinc and calcium probably one of the most important. Vegetables are a great natural source, particularly dark, green, leafy ones.
A dietary deficiency of copper is rarely found with natural sources including, but not limited to, almonds, avocado, garlic, seafood and lentils. Its benefits include regulated heart rhythm, increased red blood cell formation and reduced cholesterol. People who have a copper deficiency may have low blood temperature, brittle bones, low resistance to infections and elevated cholesterol levels. It is also important for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
Manganese is important for bone structure and helps to create essential enzymes for building bones. Good dietary sources include wholegrains, cereals, fruits and vegetables. A manganese deficiency does not really occur in humans, but in animals it has been linked to abnormalities in bone structure and cartilage as well as defects in glucose metabolism.
Iron is an important part of haemoglobin, accounting for around two thirds of iron in the human body. This is the substance that carries oxygen around the body through red blood cells and if you do not have enough iron then your body struggles to make enough of these cells. A lack of iron can result in fatigue, general weakness and various ailments. Good sources of iron include cereals, sprouts, broccoli, wholegrains and lentils.