Essential minerals in our nutritionally complete meals.

March 21st 2019

Last month, our Ingredients blog post was about the 14 essential vitamins and so-called half-vitamins we use in our nutritionally complete meals. Now, we’re going to talk - or actually, write - you through 13 essential minerals present in our meal shakes, bars and instant oatmeal.

What are minerals?

In very short, the difference between vitamins and minerals is their chemical composition, vulnerability and the way your body breaks them down. Vitamins are more complicated in structure and are more fragile, they can be broken down by air, heat and/or acids easily. Minerals, on the other hand, are definite in composition and therefore resistant to external factors. While vitamins are organic compounds “made by living things”, minerals are chemical compounds that are found in the earth. Through water and soil, they end up in the foods we eat.

In contrast to vitamins, not all minerals are essential for human health. Minerals can be divided into “macrominerals” and “trace elements”, the latter our body only needs in very small quantities. In this blog post, we’ll mention the minerals and trace elements that are considered essential, thus are present in our nutritionally complete meals. We’ll mention their names, what they do for your health and in which foods they’re regularly found. Let’s start!

Queal's essential minerals overview.

Potassium - Potassium is a mineral your body cannot produce itself, so it’s important to get it out of the foods you eat. It is also an electrolyte, meaning this mineral helps to conduct electrical impulses throughout the body. Furthermore, it’s highly important for the proper functioning of your heart and nerves, supports in a normal water balance, your blood pressure, muscle contractions and your digestion. Both potassium deficiency and overdose can cause serious health problems. A very potassium-rich food is banana.

In Queal, most Potassium comes from the soy flour, oat flour and (for the non-vegan versions) the whey protein. A little bit gets added through Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate.

Chloride - Chloride is another electrically charged mineral. It works together with sodium and potassium and supports the regulation of fluids in your body. Also, it helps in maintaining an acid-base balance. Chloride is a mineral we often get from table salt (which is sodium + chlodine) but is present in food groups like fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy too.

In Queal, the Chloride comes from Sodium Chloride, salt.

Calcium - Most of us have heard of calcium as a mineral that is good for your bones and teeth. And that’s true, but Calcium is also needed for the movement of your muscles, good functioning nerves, moving blood vessels through your body and the releasement of certain hormones and enzymes. Although most people think Calcium can only be found in dairy products, it is naturally present in greens like kale and broccoli and some types of fish and grains too.

The natural source of Calcium in our complete meals is the soy and oat flour. To make every meal nutritionally complete though, there's a little bit of Calcium D Pantothenate in our additional mix.

Phosphorus - Just like Calcium, Phosphorus is a mineral that your body mainly stores in your bones and teeth. Most foods contain Phosphorus, especially when you’re focussed on your protein and calcium intake you’ll likely to get in enough of it. Among other things, the mineral Phosphorus helps to keep your bones strong and healthy and to maintain a regular heartbeat. Also, it supports your bodies energy management.

The soy flour, oat flour and proteins in Queal provide enough Phosphorus to meet the RDA.

Magnesium - Magnesium is a mineral present in whole grains and leafy green vegetables. Often, when a food is high in dietary fibre, it also is a source of Magnesium. Your body needs this mineral to generate energy, it also helps to regulate blood pressure and supports a well-functioning muscle and nerves system. A shortage of Magnesium can create a risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes type 2, osteoporosis and migraine overtime.

The oats we use in our Queal meals are very rich in magnesium, as well as the soy flour and proteins. We do not supplement this mineral through our mix.

Iron - Most people will recognize Iron, a mineral important for carrying oxygen in your blood. Next to this, Iron also helps in gastrointestinal processes, in the regulation of your body temperature and my other important functions of your body. A serious Iron deficiency is called Amenia and can cause problems such as fatigue, tiredness and decreased immunity. When it comes to dietary Iron, there are two sources: heme and non-heme. Heme iron comes from animal sources of food and is more easily absorbed by the human body. Because of this, the recommended intake of Iron for vegetarians and vegans (those only consuming non-heme Iron) is 1.8x higher. Heme Iron can be found in meat and seafood, non-heme Iron is present in foods like beans and legumes, potatoes and cashew nuts.

The Iron in Queal comes from both the soy and oat flour and Ferric Pyrophosphate FCC, a dietary supplement that is often used in fortified cereals.

Zinc - Zinc is a mineral that is needed in a lot of different cellular processes of your body, for example, wound healing and cell division. Zinc also has an important role in supporting normal growth and is therefore extra important when your growing (as a child or adolescent), pregnant or lactating. The food containing most Zinc per serving are oysters, but it is also found in red meats, other seafood, beans, legumes, dairy and some nuts and seeds.

Part of the Zinc in Queal is in the soy and oat flour, another part comes from added Zinc Oxide.

Copper - Copper is one of the previously mentioned trace elements, of which your body only needs a very small amount. Nevertheless, it still is an important mineral. Especially when it comes to the production of muscle and connective tissue and the fighting off of invading bacteria and viruses. Foods high in Copper are, for example, kale, seafood, seeds, nuts, beans, dried fruits, avocado and goats cheese.

The Copper content in our meals mainly comes from the soy. Our oat flour also contains Copper.

Manganese - Manganese is another trace element and is needed for a properly functioning metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and cholesterols, supports in bone development and has an important role in collagen formation of your skin/wound healing. Manganese deficiency can contribute to the development of diseases such as osteoporosis and diabetes. Manganese-rich foods are whole grains, nuts, leafy vegetables and teas. The latter though often also contains tannins, which are linked to a slight inhibition of manganese absorption.

The oats we use in Queal provide in more than enough Manganese, we do not supplement this mineral through our additional mix.

Selenium - Another trace element, Selenium, works as a so-called antioxidant and protects red blood cells and your cells in general. Also, just like Iodine, Selenium is needed for a properly functioning thyroid and thus plays a role in your metabolism. Brazil nuts/paranuts are a great source of Selenium, it seems that just two nuts a day will make sure you meet your daily needs. Because of extra added Selenium to silage - though - our meat and dairy also contain it.

In our meals, the Selenium comes from oat flour, soy flour and extra added Sodium Selenite.

Chromium - Chromium is a trace element that helps your body regulate your blood sugar levels and glucose transportation. Just like Manganese, it also supports in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats. According to scientists, most fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of Chromium, but the greatest sources, in particular, are seafood, eggs, beef liver, corn, beets and soybeans. As Chromium supports your metabolism and insulin transportation, an adequate intake can help fight diabetes type 2, cholesterol and weight gain.

The vitamin and mineral mix we use contains Chromium Chloride, a dietary supplemental form of Chromium.

Molybdenum - Molybdenum is quite an unknown trace element but is essential for human health as an adequate intake helps your body to break down protein, protect cells, create energy and support the liver and kidneys to get rid of “waste”. The amount of Molybdenum in our foods is highly dependent on the soil content of where it comes from, but in general, grains, legumes, beans, milk, cheese and organ meats are Molybdenum-rich.

Our Molybdenum comes from the oat flour, which contains more than enough to adhere the recommendations.

Iodine - Last but not least, Iodine. This trace element is crucial for the development of thyroid hormones and therefore plays a big role in your metabolism. As those hormones also play a role in proper bone and brain development, Iodine is very important for children and pregnant women. As Iodine is present in our soil, the amount of it found in our meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables vary from country to country. In the Netherlands for example, the soil has very little Iodine so the natural values are low. Therefore, it gets “supplemented” through so-called Iodized salt, which is used in ready-made bread and other processed foods.

To ensure our meals contain enough Iodine, there is Potassium Iodide in our additional vitamin and mineral mix.

Minerals and (possible) allergies.

Some minerals such as chromium, magnesium and Iodine can cause allergic reactions in the form of a contact sensitivity of the skin. As the content of chromium is way lower in food than in, for example, jewellery though (stainless steel has a 16% content of nickel and chromium), only those severely allergic can experience reactions. Although our vitamin- and mineral mix is only a very small part of your complete meal, we’d recommend discussing your use of Complete Foods with a medical specialist if you know your allergic to one of these minerals.

That was it! Together with last month's post, we hope you now have a better understanding of which vitamins and minerals are essential, why they are essential, what they do and why we use them in our Steady shakes, Ready complete instant oatmeal and Go bars. If you want to learn more about how our vitamin- and mineral mix ends up in our products eventually, go check out the supply chain page!

Queal's supply chain page