You might have often heard that it is important to eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals. But what exactly are minerals? Minerals are certain essential elements that the human body needs to function properly. Though mostly minerals are found in the soil, some of them could be found in the food we eat. The human body requires small amounts of a number of minerals in order to maintain itself and function optimally, which could be obtained from eating foods rich in minerals.
Types of minerals in food
The body does not require every mineral in equal amount. Some of them are utilized more than the others. Based on the requirement of the body, minerals could be classified into two categories:
- Macro minerals/ Major minerals
- Trace minerals/ Minor minerals
Macro minerals are those minerals which the body requires in a fairly large amount. The lack of these minerals from someone’s diet could have serious ramifications on his/her health.
This group is made up of sodium, calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur. These minerals are very important for the proper metabolism of the body.
For example, the deficiency of calcium would weaken the bones in the body and cause serious troubles in the victim’s skeletal system.Trace minerals are those minerals which the body could manage with in small amounts. These include iron, copper, iodine, zinc, manganese, fluoride, cobalt and selenium.
Sources of minerals (food)Different minerals could be found in different food items. Some of the common minerals and their sources are listed in the table given below:
|Calcium||Almonds, carrots, milk, broccoli, canned fish, papaya, garlic, cashew.|
|Phosphorus||Mushrooms, meat, cashews, oats, fish, beans, squash, poultry, pecans, carrots, almonds.|
|Magnesium||Honey, almonds, sea food, tuna, kelp, chocolates, pineapple, pecans, artichokes, green vegetables.|
|Sodium||Table salt, cheese, milk, soy sauce, unprocessed meat|
|Sulfur||cheese, eggs, nuts, turnips, nuts, onions, fish, wheat germ, cucumbers,cauliflower, broccoli, corn.|
|Chloride||Table salt, soy sauce,unprocessed meat, milk|
|Potassium||Spinach, apples,oranges, tomatoes, , papaya, bananas, lemons, celery, mushrooms, pecans, raisins, pineapple, rice, cucumbers, strawberries,figs, Brussels sprouts,legumes.|