The 15 Essential Minerals for Your Body
January 19, 2023
Minerals perform many functions including keeping metabolism, bones, muscles, heart and brain working properly. They are also vital for making enzymes and hormones. We don’t manufacture essential minerals; they’re obtained through our diet. Minerals come from rocks, soil, and water and are absorbed as plants grow or by animals as they eat the plants.
Minerals are classified into two groups: major minerals and trace minerals. Major minerals are used and stored in large quantities in the body and include: calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur. Trace minerals are just as important to health but are needed in smaller amounts. Trace minerals include chromium, copper, iron, fluoride, iodine, manganese, selenium and zinc.
What Are The Essential Minerals Your Body Needs?
For more information on the building blocks of our formulas, you might like these:
- The 13 Essential Vitamins for a Healthy Life
- Top 10 Herbs for Your Body & Mind (Includes list of all our herbs)
What Does Calcium Do?
Calcium is the major building material of bones and teeth. Your skeleton hold about 98 percent of your body’s calcium and teeth one percent. The remaining is used throughout the body for heart, muscles and transmission of nerve impulses.
Foods with Calcium:
- Green Vegetables
- Fortified soya products
- Fortified cereals
- Citrus fruits
- Dried peas and beans
- Sesame seeds
- Fish where you eat the bones (anchovies and sardines).
What Does Phosphorus Do?
Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body and is found in every cell. Like calcium, phosphorus is needed for bones and teeth, and it also plays a role in energy production and for the repair of cells and tissues.
Foods with Phosphorus:
- Some cereals, breads, & nuts.
What Does Magnesium Do?
About 60 percent of magnesium is found in bone, and the rest in muscles and tissues. Magnesium is needed for bone structure, heart rhythm, blood pressure, nerves, muscle contraction, energy, fat metabolism and regulation of body temperature.
Foods with Magnesium:
- Whole Grains
- Green leafy vegetables
What Does Sodium Do?
Plays a role in regulating water balance, muscle contraction and nerve impulses.
Foods with Sodium:
- Foods with added salt
- Most foods except fruit.
What Does Potassium Do?
Aids in water balance, blood pressure, kidney health, muscle contraction, protein synthesis and the formation of glucose.
Foods with Potassium:
- Leafy green vegetables
- White beans
- Baked potatoes with the skin
- Cooked Tomatoes
- Many fruits
- Plain yogurt
What Does Chloride Do?
Combines with sodium and potassium and water to form hydrochloric acid in the stomach for digestion.
Foods with Chloride:
- Table salt
What Does Sulfur Do?
Found in all body tissues, sulfur is vital for the formation of cartilage, hair and nails.
Foods with Sulfur:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Shallots onions
What Does Iron Do?
Iron is needed to help transport oxygen throughout the body and for making red blood cells. Iron helps make hemoglobin, amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters and hormones. It’s also involved in the enzymes involved in energy metabolism.
Foods with Iron:
- Dark leafy vegetables
- Red meat
- Turkey (dark meat)
- Fortified breakfast cereals
What Does Manganese Do?
Needed for normal bone structure, reproduction and creation of certain enzymes.
Foods with Manganese:
- Whole grains
What Does Copper Do?
Copper plays a role in developing red blood cells, forming respiratory enzymes, and regulating neurotransmitters. Copper deficiency can lead to skeletal issues and changes in hair color and texture.
Foods with Copper:
- Wheat bran cereals
- Whole grains.
What Does Iodine Do?
Iodine is found in thyroid hormones that keep your metabolism controlled and are essential for normal growth.
Foods with Iodine:
- Dairy Products
- Iodized salt.
What Does Zinc Do?
Zinc is a component of digestive enzymes and vital for growth and appetite. It also plays a role in wound healing and a strong immune system.
Foods with Zinc:
- Whole grain bread
- Wheat bran.
What Does Chromium Do?
Chromium plays a role in blood sugar levels and aids glucose metabolism. It also provides energy to your cells.
Foods with Chromium:
- Whole grains
- Brewer’s yeast
What Does Fluoride Do?
Fluoride is essential for strong bones and cavity-free teeth.
Foods with Fluoride:
- Fluoridated water
- Some canned fish.
What Does Selenium Do?
This trace mineral is found naturally in soil. It is popular for immunity, thyroid health and metabolism. It also works as an antioxidant to fight free radicals.
Foods with selenium:
- Brazil nuts
- Sunflower seeds
Types of Minerals and Supplements
When it comes to minerals, there are many different forms of supplements to choose from.
- Capsules – This is the most common and convenient type of supplement with two outer shells that hold the dry ingredients.
- Liquids – Ideal for individuals who have difficulty swallowing pills, liquids have increased in popularity. They’re often flavored and can be taken by the spoonful or added to your favorite beverage.
- Powders – Powders are another good option for those who have difficulty swallowing. Powders can be mixed with water, milk or added to smoothies and yogurts.
- Softgels – Softgels are typically used for oil or liquid-based supplements (like Vitamin D) and are easier to swallow than tablets or capsules.
- Tablets – Tablets often contain many inactive substances that dissolve but can cause stomach upset in certain individuals. They are an economical choice.
- Gummies – What began as a way to get children to take their vitamins, quickly expanded to adult use. Gummies’ delicious flavors, however, usually means less nutritional value, making it among the least effective way to consume vitamins and minerals.
- Other – Americans love ease and convenience which has given rise to vitamins brewed with your coffee, patches that adhere to the skin, and tasty, nutrient-rich energy bars.
With so many options to choose from, there’s no excuse for not getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs. As always speak with your doctor about what’s right for you.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary.