When it comes to healthy eating the macronutrients get an unfair amount of publicity. Carbohydrates are constantly recommended as a great source of energy to keep you going throughout the day. If you want to build big, strong muscles then protein is deemed essential. Even dietary fats are now seen in a favourable light with more and more benefits being revealed as time passes by.
Whilst all this praise heaped on the macronutrients is valid, they are not the only nutrients your body needs to function properly. Although they are required in much smaller dosages, the macrominerals are just as important for good health. Today I will be focussing on this topic and providing you with 12 top macromineral benefits.
1) DISEASE PROTECTION:- Magnesium has been shown to protect you from a number of health conditions including diabetes and heart disease. Two studies published in Diabetes Care  in 2004 looked at the dietary habits of men and women over a number of years and found a strong correlation between magnesium intake and a reduced type 2 diabetes risk. This article from WebMD also suggests that magnesium can protect the heart from stress during exercise and allow people suffering from heart disease to exercise for longer periods.
2) FLUID BALANCE:- Your body needs chloride, potassium and sodium to keep a proper fluid balance within your body’s cells. Maintaining a proper fluid balance is essential as cells that take in too little fluid will become dehydrated and die whilst cells that take in too much fluid will rupture and burst. Proper fluid balance also ensures that your major organs stay hydrated and function properly.
3) IMPROVED MINERAL ABSORPTION:- Chloride, magnesium, phosphorus and sulphur all help your body absorb key minerals more effectively. Chloride assists in the absorption of potassium whilst magnesium helps your body absorb calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and vitamin C. Phosphorus and sulphur both play a key role in the digestion of the B complex vitamins.
4) HEALTHY BLOOD:- A number of macrominerals have a beneficial effect on your blood. Calcium, chloride, potassium and sodium all help control and maintain blood pressure. Magnesium also plays a key role in this area by promoting good circulation.
5) HEALTHY HAIR, NAILS AND SKIN:- If you want healthy hair, nails and skin then you need to make sure you get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of sulphur. Sulphur assists in the production of collagen (a connective tissue which helps keep your skin elastic) and keratin (a protein which keeps your hair, nails and skin strong and healthy). It also helps keep your skin clear, glossy and free of blemishes.
6) HEALTHY METABOLISM:- The majority of the macrominerals play a key role in metabolism. Chloride joins with hydrogen to form hydrogen chloride – a major ingredient in stomach bile. Magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur are all equally important in this area and need to be present for proper digestion and metabolism.
7) HEALTHY ORGANS:- Calcium, potassium, phosphorus and sodium all support your vital organs and keep them healthy. All four are essential for maintaining regular heartbeats whilst phosphorus also assists with kidney function and sodium aids the liver, pancreas and spleen.
8) PROPER MUSCLE CONTRACTIONS:- Your body uses various macrominerals to perform muscle contractions. Calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium all support different muscle contractions including your heartbeat.
9) PROPER NERVE TRANSMISSIONS:- Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium all help the nerves communicate effectively by promoting proper nerve transmissions.
10) REGULATING THE ACID BASE BALANCE:- Chloride and potassium are both key nutrients in the regulation of the acid base balance. The acid base balance of the blood is hugely important to your health. If the blood becomes slightly too acidic or slightly too alkaline it can cause serious damage to your major organs.
11) REMOVAL OF WASTE MATERIALS:- Chloride and sulphur both help keep your body free from waste. Chloride allows your blood to transfer waste carbon dioxide to your lungs where it can then be exhaled. Sulphur assists in the removal of toxins and other waste materials from your body.
12) STRONG BONES AND TEETH:- Calcium and phosphorus work together to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Being deficient in either mineral can lead to bone related problems such as osteomalacia (softening of the bones) and osteoporosis (reduced bone density).
As you can see the macrominerals have a number of key roles in your body. They protect you from disease, keep your cells and organs healthy and support many internal functions and processes. So if you are not currently keeping an eye on your macromineral intake perhaps now is the time to start.
Now I want to hear your thoughts. Were you aware of what all seven macrominerals do for your body? Does your diet give you a good supply of them all? Leave a comment and let me know.
 Lopez, R et al., (2004) Magnesium Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Men and Women. Diabetes Care. 27,134-140.