If the word ‘mineral’ brings back memories of your sixth-grade Earth science teacher passing around a rock in class, you’re in the right direction. Minerals are the building blocks of rocks, gems, ores, the Earth’s crust. And, you.

Regardless of whether you knew that already or your knowledge of minerals stayed at its sixth-grade level, there’s always something minerals can surprise you with. Here, we’ve put together the most important things you should know about them – from what they are, to why you need them and how you can get them.

What are minerals?

Minerals are naturally-formed solid inorganic compounds. Or, simply put: anything that is solid, isn’t created by humans, has never been alive and isn’t made of anything that has been alive, is a mineral.

Currently, we know of over 5,000 minerals. But only 15 of them are relevant for your health. These are: Potassium, Chlorine, Sodium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Iodine, Chromium, Molybdenum, Selenium, and Fluoride. All of these, apart from fluoride are considered essential nutrients, because they’re involved in vital functionsFluoride isn’t involved in any vital functions, but it helps prevent tooth decay. That’s why you need to know about it..

And just to help you visualise how important minerals are, here’s what you would get if you would break down your body into its basic componentsBased on a total body weight of 62 kg.:

35 kg Oxygen
6.4 kg Hydrogen
17.5 kg Carbon
1.5 kg Nitrogen
1.0 kg Calcium
0.54 kg Phosphorus
110 g Sulfur
72 g Sodium
120 g Potassium
76 g Chlorine
17 g Magnesium
18 g Silicon
2.5 g Iron
2.4 g Zinc
83 mg Copper
31 mg Iodine
12 mg Manganese
4.2 mg Fluorine
6.2 mg Chromium
5.4 mg Selenium
4.9 mg Molybdenum
1 mg Cobalt

You’ve probably noticed that your body’s ingredients list contains all the essential minerals we mentioned. So, what do they exactly do?

What do minerals do?

Imagine your body is a busy airport. Each plane is a vital function and the pilot on each plane is an enzyme or a hormone responsible for that function. In this scenario, minerals would be the air traffic controllers, making sure everything is running smoothly. If you remove them, some planes might continue running for a while, but eventually, there will be chaos.

This is no exaggeration. There are as many functions of minerals in your body as there are minerals. Some, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese are major components of your bones and teeth. Others, like copper and molybdenum are required for the proper functioning of numerous enzymes in your body. For anything from the beating of your heart to the regulation of your body temperature and your sense of smell, you have one or another mineral to thank.

Where do we get our minerals?

As a new-born baby, your body contains some minerals, courtesy of your mom. But unfortunately, what you’re not born with and never acquire is the ability to make minerals yourself. That’s why you need to get them from food and water.

Luckily, minerals are found in a variety of foods and many types of drinking water. Different foods contain different minerals, which is why a diverse diet is your best bet for fully meeting your mineral needs. Keep in mind, though, that mineral content can vary a lot even within the same food. The reason is that minerals mostly get into your food from the soilOne notable exception is seaweed.. So, the mineral content of any plant or the meat of any animal that ate that plant, essentially depends on the mineral content of the soil where the plant was grown.

Deficiencies and overdoses

Most minerals are only present in your body in small amounts. You should keep it that way. Large intakes of most minerals will harm you. The consequences of a mineral overdose can range from kidney damage to increasing your risk of getting a stroke.

Luckily, overdosing on minerals isn’t that easy. There are two exceptions. One is sodium, which is a component of table salt and is found in almost all processed foods you come across. The other exception is iodine, but you should only worry about overdosing if you eat a lot of seaweed.

Not getting enough minerals also has its consequences – iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, which affects more people than any otherSource: Our World in Data health problem worldwide. Zinc deficiency affects as much as 50% of the population in regions with protein-poor diets, and it damage the immune system, skin or sense of smell. But that’s not all. Mineral deficiencies can also take you to weird places, like pica – the compulsion to eat non-food substances, such as paper, clay, sand. Or, animal droppings.

As scary as that sounds, you shouldn’t worry too much about mineral deficiencies unless you have an extremely unvaried diet.

Minerals in Jake

Jake Light and Jake Original provide you with at least 33% of all the essential dietary minerals per meal. That means that 3 meals of Jake Light or Jake Original would provide your total requirement of minerals for the day. This doesn’t mean you have to eat 3 meals of Jake per day. But, when you do eat a meal of Jake, you get exactly the right amount of minerals in for that meal. As Jake Sports is based on 4 meals a day, 1 meal of Jake Sports provides 25% of every mineral.

If you’re curious to read more about individual essential minerals, what they do, where you can find them and how much of them is used in Jake, check out the nutrition section of our blogSource: Jake. You can compare the nutritional values of each version of Jake hereSource: Jake.