The Minerals in Your Food

Today the role of minerals plays a large part in our nutrition. We have began to discover the importance of the minerals in our daily food intake.

Today scientists list over a hundred elements as being found on this earth. However, some of these are man-made. Around sixty of natural elements have been found in living things, in man around forty. Four major elements found in our body include oxygen 65%, carbon 18 %, hydrogen 10% nitrogen 3%, these make a total of 96 percent of our composition. Now you can understand why drinking water is important on daily basis.

Macro elements such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, sodium, chlorine and magnesium comprise of about 3.5 % of our body's composition.

The micro elements account for the 0.5 of 1 percent, these consist of iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, molybdenum, cobalt, fluorine, chromium and bromine.

We still have a lot to learn about minerals and the importance of them in our body's.

Minerals in our body serve two functions, one being that they are the building blocks, secondly they are regulators of our body's processes.



Importance of getting a balanced diet.

The importance of getting a balanced diet is emphasised in the table below. The table shows minerals, the amount, where they are found in the body and also good food sources.

You will notice when looking through the table that not one type of food is mentioned but several, for example fish, milk, fruits.

Each mineral is important as we have send above they are the building blocks, we need to replenish these with a balanced diet.


Macro Minerals


Mineral % of Body Where Located Some Good Sources
Calcium 1.5-9
99% in bones, teeth. Aids in blood clotting,muscle activity, nerve function, heart action; activates certain enzymes.

(Most persons do not get enough calcium.)

  Milk, other dairy products, cabbage,kale, etc.,unrefined cereals,legumes, bone meal.
Phosphorus 1.0 75% in bones, teeth. Aids in cell life, re-production utilization of carbohydrates, fats in maintaining acid base balance; nourishes brain etc.   All protein foods: meats, fish, nuts, legumes, dairy products, unrefined cereals.
Potassium .35 Found in cells. Plays leading role in utilization of proteins, carbohydrates; helps maintain normal heartbeat.   All fruits, vegetables. Potato peelings richest source. (Must be taken daily.)
Sulphur .25 Found in (and important to) skin, fingernails, hair; the “beauty mineral.”   Protein foods, onion, cabbage families.
Sodium .15 Found throughout body. Maintains water balance, osmotic pressure in body fluids; aids in maintaining acid-base balance; indispensable for kidney function.   Table and sea salt, cheese, butter, cereals. “A diet truly low in sodium would be hard to achieve.”
Chlorine .15 Mostly in extra cellular fluids, part of hydrochloric acid in stomach. Aids liver function, maintaining acid-base balance.   Salt, meat, leafy vegetables, milk, tomatoes, etc.
Magnesium .05 Bones, soft tissues. Important to heart, nerve tissue; vital to a host of enzyme functions.   Nuts, legumes, fish, whole grains, blackstrap molasses, raw leafy vegetables.

Micro or Trace Minerals


Mineral % of Body Where Located Some Good Sources
Iron .004-7 In haemoglobin. Aids in bringing oxygen to cells; aids certain cellular enzymes. (Women need dark leafy greens, more iron than do men.)   Liver, lean meats, legumes, egg yolks, molasses,raisins, apricots, berries, onions. oysters, whole grains.
Manganese .0003 Essential for bone formation, body growth, normal metabolism; activates many essential enzymes.   Whole grains, legumes, beet tops, pineapple, bananas, blue berries, saltwater fish.
Copper .0002 Aids in utilization of iron; activates many essential enzymes. “Key element to life itself.”   Liver, kidney, shellfish, legumes, nuts, raisins, unrefined cereals.
Iodine .00004 Mostly in thyroid gland .Controls metabolism rate, aids in forming thyroid hormone, prevents goiter, etc.   Seafood (animal and vegetable), mushrooms, crops grown near oceans, iodized salt.
Zinc Trace Mostly in sex organs and thyroid. Plays vital role in enzymes needed for growth and body functioning.   Animal proteins, fish, whole grains, maple sugar.
Molybdenum Trace Essential for bone formation, normal metabolism, body growth.   Legumes, whole grains, dark leafy greens, organ meats.
Cobalt Trace In pancreas, liver, spleen. Aids in blood formation, vital part of vitamin B-12.   Liver, legumes, whole grains.
Fluorine Trace Found in bones and teeth. Prevents tooth decay.   Seafood, tea.
Chromium Trace Contributes to growth, longevity, resistance to disease, especially diabetes.   Raw sugar.
Bromine Trace Persons suffering from depressive psychoses found to have less than average in blood.   Watermelons, tomatoes.

( listings are representative rather than comprehensive.)

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