Minerals play a crucial role in the efficient functioning of our system. From maintaining heart and bone health to boosting memory and hormone production, minerals are vital for the body just like air and water. However, our nutrient-deficient diets, supplemented by poor eating habits, often hamper the absorption of essential minerals from food.

There are several routes through which our body loses minerals—excessive sodium and caffeine intake, stress, alcohol consumption, excessive use of diuretics and prescription drugs. A mineral deficiency can result in classic conditions such as anemia (iron), or osteoporosis (calcium), which manifest into chronic degenerative diseases over time.

Mineral deficiencies may be difficult to detect as our body tries to rob these from storage sites (bones, muscles), in order to maintain the necessary levels required for basic metabolic functions. Certain minerals may also compete with each other during absorption (calcium and iron). But, there are ways to ensure an optimal absorption of essential minerals in the body. We tell you how to do this naturally.

1. Vitamin C For Iron
Iron plays a vital role in our body, forming a major component of red blood cells. Not only does it provide your cells with oxygen, it also aids in energy production. Deficiency of iron can result in anemia, which can be disastrous for the body.

There are two types of dietary iron—heme and non-heme. While heme iron can be easily absorbed from iron-rich foods like meat, poultry and fish, absorption of non-heme iron (present in leafy greens, legumes, nuts, whole grains) is tough.

Vitamin C helps the body improve the absorption of non-heme iron. It binds to this form of iron so that the body can absorb it well. [1,2] Following a vegan diet? Here’s how to increase your iron levels.

How To Make It Work: If you’re having steak for dinner, ditch the chocolate pudding for dessert and have fruit custard instead. Include citrus fruits, berries, papaya, bell peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes and broccoli in your diet to improve the absorption of iron.

2. Vitamin D For Calcium & Phosphorus
Calcium is not only necessary for the development of strong bones, but also for a steady heart rate. Phosphorus, on the other hand, is necessary for the foundation of your bones. About 85 percent of your body’s phosphorus can be found in the skeleton.

You can boost the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by loading up on vitamin D, which improves the absorption of these minerals from the digestive tract and inhibits their excretion through urine. While the best way to get vitamin D is sun exposure, there are certain foods (such as fatty fish and eggs) that are packed with it. [3] Here are six signs of calcium deficiency that you may be missing out on.

How To Make It Work: Pair your morning glass of milk with vitamin D-fortified cereal or yogurt. Soy milk and eggs is another great combination. Additionally, eat a lot of fatty fish, which are a great source of vitamin D.

3. Vitamin K For Calcium
Both vitamin D and K work in synergy to stimulate the absorption of calcium. According to a study, vitamin K, which is useful for maintaining bone density, binds easily with calcium to increase its absorption. [4]

How To Make It Work: Eat at least one helping (one cup) of Brussels sprouts, chickpeas, kale, eggs, dairy or broccoli along with your calcium-rich foods or supplements every day.

4. Vitamin B6 For Potassium
Potassium is vital for the healthy functioning of your body’s cells, tissues and organs. Besides maintaining a healthy blood pH level, it also improves blood pressure levels and muscular function.

Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine (part of the B group vitamins) is water-soluble and is required for both mental and physical health. It also elevates the absorption of potassium in the body.

How To Make It Work: Pair your morning banana smoothie with nuts and sunflower seeds to add vitamin B6 to your diet. Other foods rich in vitamin B6 are fatty fish, poultry, dried fruits, avocados and spinach.

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Natural Remedies here.

Read More:
6 Everyday Foods That Can Boost Your Health
4 Reasons To Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels (& How You Can Do It)
Are You Aware Of These 6 Calcium Deficiency Signs?
6 Reasons Your Body Requires Potassium & How To Get It

1. Hallberg L, Brune M, Rossander L. The role of vitamin C in iron absorption. Int J Vitam Nutr Res Suppl. 1989;30:103-8. PubMed PMID: 2507689.

2. Teucher B, Olivares M, Cori H. Enhancers of iron absorption: ascorbic acid and other organic acids. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2004 Nov;74(6):403-19. Review. PubMed PMID: 15743017.

3. Christakos S, Dhawan P, Porta A, Mady LJ, Seth T. Vitamin D and intestinal calcium absorption. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2011 Dec 5;347(1-2):25-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2011.05.038. Epub 2011 Jun 1. Review. PubMed PMID: 21664413; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3405161.

4. Iwamoto J, Yeh JK, Takeda T, Sato Y. Comparative effects of vitamin K and vitamin D supplementation on calcium balance in young rats fed normal or low calcium diets. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2005 Aug;51(4):211-5. PubMed PMID: 16261991.

5. Rizzoli R, Fleisch H, Bonjour JP. Role of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 on intestinal phosphate absorption in rats with a normal vitamin D supply. J Clin Invest. 1977 Sep;60(3):639-47. PubMed PMID: 893667; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC372408.

6. Abrams SA, Hawthorne KM, Aliu O, Hicks PD, Chen Z, Griffin IJ. An inulin-type fructan enhances calcium absorption primarily via an effect on colonic absorption in humans. J Nutr. 2007 Oct;137(10):2208-12. PubMed PMID: 17884999.