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Minerals are inorganic chemicals, generally metallic, that are used by the body. Usually the body has a sufficient supply of minerals through eating a variety of foods in the correct amounts. Mineral distribution in the body falls into two categories - bulk minerals, and trace minerals (defined by the USRDA as greater than and less than 200 mg).

Bulk MineralsEdit


Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and is needed to form strong bones and teeth, and is also used for blood, muscle, nervous system transmission, and inter-cellular fluid. Calcium plays a part in the contraction of muscle cells and blood vessels, and the secretion of hormones and enzymes. Some typical sources of calcium include: dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), Chinese cabbage, kale, and broccoli.


Sodium is found together with chloride as sodium chloride or common salt. In the body, sodium helps to balance the fluids inside the body cells and outside them. A lack of sodium can cause cramps. However too much salt in the body is harmful as it can cause hypertension, a condition that affects the blood system


The fourth most abundant mineral in the body - half of which is found in bones, while the other half is distributed amongst tissues and organs. It it a vital component in muscle and nerve function, immune system function, bone strength, blood sugar and blood pressure, and metabolism and protein synthesis. Most sources of magnesium are green vegetables and whole or unrefined grains and nuts, as magnesium is the central component of chlorophyll molecules, which give the green color of vegetables.





Trace MineralsEdit


A trace mineral that makes antioxidant selenoprotein enzymes, which prevent cellular damage from free radicals, regulate thyroid function, and play a role in the immune system. The amount of selenium in a particular food is related to the amount in the soil of the area the food was produced in. Typically it is found in grains and nuts, but also in the meats of animals that eat grain or plants from selenium-rich soil.


Iron is needed for the formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells which are responsible for carrying oxygen to all parts of the body. Most sources of iron are animal related (also called heme iron sources) and include beef, turkey, chicken, pork, oysters, crab, and tuna. Other sources, called nonheme iron sources, include beans, tofu, spinach, raisins, molasses, and some cereals and grains.




Copper aids in the formation of Red Blood Cells. Copper excess also mimics zinc deficiency and can promote impotence.




Zinc can be found in almost every cell in the body, and stimulates about 100 different enzyme reactions. It is used by the immune system, for DNA synthesis, for healing wounds, and for normal growth and development during hormonally active periods. Zinc is provided by oysters, beef, pork, chicken, fish, beans, tree nuts, and some dairy products.



External LinksEdit

  • [1] National Institute of Health - Office of Dietary Supplements, Vitamin and Mineral Fact Sheet