Minerals: Why Minerals Are so Important?

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Our body needs minerals to turn the food we eat into energy and to build strong bones and teeth.

A healthy balanced diet contains all the minerals our body needs to work properly.

Calcium, Iron, and Potassium are the essential minerals. There are many other minerals our body needs to function, and these include:

  • beta-carotene
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • silicon
  • sodium
  • sulphur

 

Calcium

Calcium is more than any other mineral in our body.

Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth and regulate your heartbeat. It also ensures your blood clots normally, important for healing.

Calcium regulates our heartbeat. It also helps to build strong bones and teeth.

Major Sources of Calcium include:

  • dairy foods – such as milk, cheese and butter
  • green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli and cabbage
  • fortified soya products
  • fortified cereals – including bread
  • fish where we eat the bones – such as anchovies and sardines

 

Iron

Iron helps our body make Haemoglobin (Hb), an essential component of red blood cells which carry oxygen around our body.

If we don’t have enough iron in our diet, we are at risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia.

Major Sources of iron include:

  • meat – such as beef and liver
  • beans
  • nuts
  • dried fruit – such as dried apricots
  • wholegrains – such as brown rice
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • most dark-green leafy vegetables – such as watercress and curly kale

 

Potassium

Potassium helps to control the balance of fluids in our body and keeps our heart healthy and functioning properly.

Major Sources of Potassium include:

  • fruit – such as bananas
  • some vegetables – such as broccoli, parsnips and brussels sprouts
  • pulses
  • nuts and seeds
  • fish and shellfish
  • meat

Trace elements

These are also essential nutrients; however, we need them in smaller amounts than vitamins and minerals.

Essential trace elements include iodine and zinc. However, there are many more elements our body requires to function properly, including:

  • boron
  • chromium
  • cobalt
  • copper
  • molybdenum
  • manganese
  • nickel
  • selenium

Iodine

Iodine helps our body make the thyroid hormones that keep our cells and metabolic rate healthy.

Iodine is a trace element found mainly in seawater, rocks and some soils, good food sources include:

  • fish and shellfish
  • some vegetables and grains – although this depends on the type of soil where they’re grown

Zinc

Zinc helps our body:

  • make new cells and enzymes
  • process carbohydrate, fat and protein in food
  • with the healing of wounds

Major Sources of Zinc include:

  • meat
  • shellfish
  • dairy foods
  • cereal products – such as wheat germ and wholegrain bread

 

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