Minerals are natural compounds formed through geological processes. Dietary minerals are inorganic chemicals essential for all living organisms. They are characterized into macro-minerals and trace minerals. Fourteen minerals have been shown by research to be essential to human health: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Sulfur, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Iodine, Zinc, Fluoride, and Selenium. These 14 essential minerals are crucial to the growth and production of blood, bones, enzymes, hair, hormones, nerves, skin, and teeth; and the healthy functioning of blood circulation, cellular integrity, energy production, fluid regulation, muscle contraction and nerve transmission. The study of minerals is called mineralogy.
Essential (Macro) Minerals
(Source) – The main food sources are milk, cheese, yogurt, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, shellfish and salmon.
(Benefit) – Calcium is required for the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. It is also essential for proper functioning of the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
(Source) – The main source is table salt. Chloride can also be obtained by eating processed foods.
(Benefit) – Chloride is an electrolyte that is essential in controlling the body’s fluid and acid-base balance. It also assists the digestive system in the formation of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
(Source) – The main food sources are whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruit, green leafy vegetables, and oatmeal.
(Benefit) – Magnesium is important in metabolic and structural functions in the body. It assists in the formation and function of bones, teeth, muscles, tissues and nerves.
(Source) - The main food sources are milk, fish, eggs, corn, nuts, peas, poultry, meat and bran.
(Benefit) – Phosphorus is required in the formation of bones and teeth. It is essential in the formation of cell membranes and in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
(Source) - The main food sources include oranges, bananas, dairy products, meat, poultry and potatoes with skin.
(Benefit) – Potassium is an electrolyte that is required for all cellular activity. Potassium is vital in muscle contraction, nerve transmission, cardiac tissue contraction, and kidney function.
(Source) – The main food sources are table salt, sports drinks, cheese, ham, smoked meats, canned soups and processed meats.
(Benefit) – Sodium is an electrolyte that is required for all cellular activity. Sodium is important to keeping fluids in the body balanced. Sodium is vital in muscle contraction, nerve transmission and the contraction of cardiac tissue.
(Source) – The main food sources include leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, grains, apples, pears, broccoli and carrots.
(Benefit) – Boron is necessary for proper formation of bones and cells. It is also important in the regulation of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
(Source) – The main food sources are meat, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, bread, potatoes, and brown rice.
(Benefit) – The main function of chromium is in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. It is also important in assisting insulin in lowering blood-sugar levels in the blood stream. It is believed that chromium acts an anabolic steroid in building muscle and losing fat.
(Source) – The main food sources include shellfish, meat, liver, mushrooms, whole grains and potatoes.
(Benefit) – The primary benefit of copper is in the formation of red blood cells. Copper also plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It is also important in the formation of nerve tissue, and it assists the body as an antioxidant to boost the immune system.
(Source) – The main sources are fluoridated drinking water and tea.
(Benefit) – Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay. It also helps in the formation of teeth and bones.
(Source) – The main source of iodine is found in iodized table salt. It can also be consumed in halibut, oysters, codfish, seaweed or diary products.
(Benefit) – Iodine is a necessary element for normal cell metabolism. In the presence of iodine, the thyroid gland can synthesize the hormones needed for energy production, normal growth and regulation of metabolism.
(Source) – The main food sources are Brussel sprouts, whole grains, nuts, beans, corn, bananas, leafy green vegetables and oatmeal.
(Benefit) – Manganese is involved in energy production. Along with calcium it is essential for building strong bones and connective tissue.
(Source) – The main food sources are whole grains, nuts, vegetables, milk, breads and cereals.
(Benefit) – Molybdenum acts as a signaling mechanism to activate enzyme activity in energy production, nitrogen metabolism and uric acid production.
(Source) – The main food sources include fish, shellfish, red meats, grains, eggs, chicken, garlic, and liver.
(Benefit) – Selenium is part of an enzyme that acts as an antioxidant to help protect the body against molecular, cellular and tissue damage incurred by free radicals. It also helps to reduce recovery time after exercise or strenuous activity.
(Source) –The main food sources are seafood, oysters, herring, meat, liver, eggs, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal.
(Benefit) – Zinc is important for cell division, growth and repair. It assists the body in boosting the immune system. Zinc is also required in many metabolic processes in the body.