These are just as vital to health as Vitamins. They are also responsible for many body functions and metabolic processes. Some are needed as components of the body structures such as the skeleton, for example our bones contain a quantity of Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorous.
The body cannot make minerals so they must be obtained from our food. Minerals are never destroyed, they are found in the soil, rocks and water, Plants and animals absorb or ingest them which in turn bring them into the food chain for us to consume.
Although not destroyed, they can be removed from foods by processing, boiling and peeling (many minerals are in the peel), and soils can be deficient due to intensive farming, leading to low levels in the first place.
There are around 20 minerals known to be nutritionally important, and whilst they are all essential for health, the amounts required vary greatly from several milligrams per day to just a few micrograms. This leads to a general classification for minerals that is based on how much the body requires in a day:
‘Macro-Minerals’ required in large quantities:
‘Micro-Minerals’ – required by the body in small quantities:
List of Foods High in Minerals
Like vitamins, minerals help your body grow and stay healthy. Your body needs minerals to perform different functions, from building healthy bones to transmitting electrical impulses along nerves. In fact, some minerals help maintain a normal heartbeat and make hormones. Since minerals are an essential part of a healthy diet, it is important to learn which foods are good sources of these nutrients.
Foods Rich in Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium
Your muscles, kidneys and heart require magnesium to function optimally. Good dietary sources of magnesium include legumes, whole grains, wheat bran, soybean flour, whole-wheat flour, oat bran, spinach, beet greens, green leafy vegetables and Swiss chard. Your body uses calcium to form and maintain strong bones and teeth. Good sources of calcium include cheeses, kale, cabbage, turnip greens, bok choy, broccoli, dark leafy greens, kelp, dried figs, sardines, canned salmon, oysters, hazelnuts, yogurt, milk and cottage cheese. Potassium ensures that your digestive and muscular systems perform their assigned functions effectively. Foods such as potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, orange juice, bananas, cantaloupes, cod, flounder, salmon, chicken and other meats contain decent amounts of potassium.
Foods Rich in Sodium, Phosphorus and Chloride
Sodium helps control your blood volume and blood pressure. Good sources of sodium include table salt, milk, beets and celery. Along with calcium, phosphorus helps build strong bones and teeth. Foods that contain substantial amounts of phosphorus include eggs, dairy products, fish, meat, poultry, legumes and nuts. Chloride helps maintain proper balance of fluids in your body. Tomatoes, lettuce, seaweed, rye, olives, table salt and celery contain high levels of chloride.
Foods Rich in Iron, Manganese and Zinc
Iron is a component of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the cells throughout your body. Dried peas and beans, nuts and seeds, legumes and whole grains contain good amounts of iron, as do lean red meat, shellfish, poultry, fish, liver and other organ meats. Your body needs manganese to make sex hormones, blood-clotting factors, connective tissue and bones. Pineapples, wheat germ, nuts and seeds, whole grains and legumes are rich dietary sources of manganese. Zinc plays a vital role in reproduction, vision, growth, blood clotting, smell and the immune system. Black-eyed peas, pinto beans, soybeans, lima beans, whole grains, pumpkin, mushrooms, cooked greens, tahini and sunflower seeds are good sources of zinc.
Foods Rich in Iodine and Chromium
Your body synthesizes thyroid hormones with the support of iodine. Thyroid hormones contribute to normal growth and development. Great sources of iodine include lima beans, soybeans, garlic, sesame seeds, Swiss chard, seafood, spinach, turnip greens and summer squash. Chromium helps enhance the function of a hormone called insulin, which plays a fundamental role in regulating blood sugar levels. Your body uses insulin to convert sugar and starches into the energy it needs to carry out daily functions. Brewer’s yeast, oatmeal, mushrooms, asparagus, whole grains, organ meats, nuts and prunes have high amounts of chromium.
Foods Rich in Copper, Selenium and Molybdenum
Copper helps produce red blood cells and ensures that your immune system and nerve cells stay healthy. Enriched cereals, navy beans, lentils, soybeans, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and organ meats are rich sources of copper. Selenium contributes to the proper functioning of your immune system and thyroid gland. Excellent sources of selenium include shellfish, butter, fish, wheat germ, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts. Molybdenum plays an important role in various biological processes, including the production of energy in cells, the development of the nervous system and the processing of waste in the kidneys. The best choices for molybdenum include legumes, such as peas, lentils and beans, grain products and nuts.
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