10 Minerals Your Body Needs & How You Can Get Them

by Stephlina D'cunha

From maintaining a healthy heart rate and building strong bones to making hormones and boosting brain power, minerals are important for a healthy body and mind. As they can’t be produced by the body, they have to be obtained by following a wholesome diet that is full of mineral-rich foods. Here are 10 essential minerals required by the body and their best food sources.

1. Calcium
A crucial mineral for bones, calcium is useful in regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and in maintaining heart health. It also plays a significant role in milk production during pregnancy.
What To Eat: Apart from milk and dairy products, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kale, bok choy, sardines, salmon, turnip greens, kelp, dried figs and oysters are a good source of calcium.

2. Magnesium
Magnesium is important for a bunch of enzyme-catalyzed reactions imperative for the normal functioning of the body. It also keeps your kidneys, heart and brain healthy.
What To Eat: Whole grains, beans, leafy greens, nuts, soybean, legumes, bran cereals and seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and flaxseeds are good sources of magnesium.

3. Phosphorus
Like calcium, phosphorus is required to build strong bones and teeth. It helps the cells to function properly and make energy.
What To Eat: Mushrooms, meat, poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts and dairy products to get your daily phosphorus requirement.

4. Iron
Known as the blood mineral, iron is essential for the formation of red blood cells and transporting oxygen in the body. It regulates growth and supports the immune system.
What To Eat: Lean meat, shellfish, liver, lentils, iron fortified cereal, dried beans, peas, chickpeas, nuts and seeds, molasses and organic apricots to replenish your iron stores. If you’re on a vegan diet, here’s how you can make up for all the iron you are missing on.

5. Zinc
An anti-oxidant mineral, zinc is vital for immunity and wound healing. It is crucial for sexual development and reproduction, maintaining healthy eyes and supporting liver function.
What To Eat: Black-eyed peas, soybeans, lima beans, mushrooms, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, seafood, organic eggs, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, kelp and whole grains are rich sources of zinc.

6. Sodium
An essential fluid mineral that keeps a control over your blood volume to regulate blood pressure, sodium is extremely beneficial in digestion and maintaining the chemical composition of blood.
What To Eat: Unrefined organic sea salt, kelp, beets, okra, coconuts, carrots, and dried fruits such as apricots, figs, and raisins are sodium-rich foods.

7. Selenium
An anti-oxidant mineral, selenium is vital for the proper functioning of your immune system as well as the thyroid gland. It even protects your cells from damage.
What To Eat: Organ meats, seafood, dairy, brewer’s yeast, butter, sesame seeds, garlic and Brazil nuts to boost your selenium content.

8. Potassium
A fluid mineral like sodium, potassium is necessary for maintaining the fluid balance and regulating blood pressure. Known as the nerve tonic, it also aids the sensory function.
What To Eat: Potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, citrus fruits, bananas, cantaloupes, fatty fish, poultry, spinach and celery.

9. Iodine
Indispensable for the production of thyroid hormones, iodine is a trace element that gives you healthy skin, hair and nails.
What To Eat: Fresh seafood, kelp, iodized salt, Swiss chard, spinach, turnip greens and summer squash.

10. Manganese
Manganese combines with other minerals and promotes a healthy immune system. It is useful in producing sex hormones, blood clotting and for healthy skin, nails and hair.
What To Eat: Green leafy vegetables, avocados, blueberries, pineapples, kelp, green tea, eggs, fresh beetroot and wheatgerm.

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