Did you know there are some minerals that can help you lose weight? If you think weight loss is just about food, exercise and going fat-free, carb-free, etc., I’ve got news for you: it’s not! Weight loss is a chemical reaction inside the body, plain and simple, just like weight gain is. I don’t suggest that weight loss is necessary for everyone, however I do think that getting the right minerals into your diet to promote optimal health, is important. For this purpose, I’m going to share with you the top minerals that can help you lose weight, and might even help you with other issues.
Chromium is one of the top minerals that can help you lose weight. It balances your blood sugar, and helps reduce how fast insulin levels rise and fall in the body. It also changes how the body stores carbohydrates, and influences how hungry you are. You can probably already see how this is important for weight loss, and also for diabetes patients. Chromium is found in foods like nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, lean poultry, cacao, and leafy greens, along with green vegetables. Eat plenty of chromium rich foods, or take a supplement. I like multivitamins that contain extra chromium for this purpose. Chromium picolinate is the most easily absorbed form, so look for that form when searching for supplements.
Magnesium is a mineral that is important for the nervous system, blood sugar, bones and digestive tract. Magnesium is responsible for hundreds of reactions in the body. It can help you go to sleep if you’re restless, by settling anxiety, it can lower your blood sugar if it is high, it can rid you of headaches due to stress or anxiety, or poor blood flow. It can also relieve sore muscles after exercise, and can help provide a boost if you’re excessively low in energy from stress. It can also help relax the gastrointestinal tract, which is often the first thing affected when you’re stressed. This can aid everything from constipation, to a nervous stomach. Use no more than 400 mg per day, without extra supplementation unless directed by a doctor. Foods rich in magnesium include cacao, leafy greens, most all nuts, all seeds, fish, yogurt, some fortified non-dairy milks, and hemp protein powder or seeds.
Many people relate the mineral zinc to flu prevention, but it does much more than that! Zinc is a powerful mineral that promotes hormonal balance in the body, especially testosterone. It is important for women nearing menopause when their body naturally produces less hormones, both estrogen and testosterone. This depletion causes weight gain for most women, and even in some men. Zinc helps increase testosterone in the body, but not to the point you’ll develop male qualities in a reasonable amount. Zinc also helps protein production and assists with enzyme regulation. It even acts as a neurotransmitter, helping your body communicate appropriately, and of course, it helps keep your immune system working efficiently. I recommend taking a zinc lozenge, or a supplement of no more than 15 mg. It can help balance your mood, increase your libido, and lead to weight loss. Great foods that have plenty of zinc include nuts, seeds, cacao, eggs, seafood, beef, lamb, wheat germ, all leafy greens, lean poultry, mushrooms and beans.
Iron is not only responsible for healthy blood flow, but also to your energy! If you’re low in iron, you’ll be tired to the point of exhaustion, which slows down your metabolism. It isn’t hard to get iron in your diet, if you know the right foods to eat. The iron in these foods are readily absorbed by your body, and usually a supplement isn’t recommended or necessary unless directed by a doctor. Iron is rich in all red meat, but if you want to avoid red meat, no problem! It is also found in nuts, seeds, spinach, kale, cacao and dark chocolate, eggs, chia seeds, and spirulina. I eat all forms of vegan iron every single day and have tons of energy, without any supplementation.
What? Salt can help you lose weight? Isn’t it bad for bloating? Doesn’t it cause weight gain? Yes, table salt will cause bloating, weight gain, etc. Yet, most people ignore what the actual function of sodium is, and where to get the right sources. Three years ago, I was severely tired all the time, at a very low weight and constantly thirsty. I felt like a mess, just to be honest. I went to the doctor, he ran some tests, and said for me to be in such bad shape, he couldn’t believe that my number were perfect - with one exception. I was severely low in sodium, and most of my symptoms related to signs of being low in sodium. Sodium is an essential mineral in your body. You need it for a healthy metabolism, and for energy. It’s needed for fluid balance, nerve contraction, muscle coordination and metabolism. The best forms of sodium include Himalayan sea salt,which is unprocessed and wind produced, along with sea vegetables, which are rich in natural sodium. Natural processed foods like plain yogurt, baking soda, Dutch cocoa powder, mustard and tamari are also good sources. Sea salt is the next best option. While I don’t suggest going crazy, I do think you should add around ⅛ tsp. per day to see if your symptoms improve. If you avoid salt like the plague, this may be why you don’t feel so hot!
Potassium is a powerful mineral we all need to be consuming, but is also very important for weight management and loss. Potassium is what keeps you from being bloated, helps fight that puffy feeling, and aids in proper muscle contraction. It’s the reason Gatorade has the proper ratios of potassium to sodium. Both are critical, yet they also fight against one another. You don’t need Gatorade to get your minerals though. Potassium is abundant in many foods. The highest include yogurt, hemp seeds and protein, chia seeds, all fruits and vegetables, some whole grains, coconut water, almonds, and beans. Supplementation is not necessary for most people because of the abundant amount found in our food supply.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now how important calcium is for weight loss. Here’s why: it calms your nerves and fights fat. Calcium also aids in bone maintenance in the body. You need a strong skeletal system for a healthy metabolism. Calcium’s effect on the nervous system is also critical to weight loss. It’s the reason a glass of milk or bowl of ice cream immediately calms you. My favorite sources of calcium include especially high sources which are Silk unsweetened almond milk, which has 50% more than dairy milk, plus organic Greek yogurt, almonds, chia seeds which actually have more calcium than a container of yogurt, canned salmon, and leafy greens. It is also found in legumes, tofu, soy milk and milk.
Sulfur is our detox mineral ladies! It helps the liver cleanse itself from toxins to fight weight gain and a sluggish metabolism. It is found in protein molecules, so be sure to eat sources like eggs, fish, vegetables like onions, garlic and leafy greens, and cacao ( pure dark chocolate).
Selenium is an important mineral necessary for good thyroid function. Many people with slow weight loss will benefit from taking a selenium supplement, or eating just one Brazil nut a day, which has all your daily selenium requirements. You’ll notice more energy, reduced stress and a faster metabolism with this mineral in your diet.
Other minerals needed in the human body include chloride, copper, manganese, iodine, fluoride, molybdenum, and phosphorus. All are important for a healthy metabolism, and I’ve only noted the top 9 that most people suffer a shortage in that leads to a sluggish metabolism. These suggestions should never be taken as medical advice. Always have your doctor run some tests if you believe a mineral shortage to be an issue for you. Do you take a mineral supplement or eat foods rich in these minerals?