Major Functions and Sources of Selected Minerals
Major functions and sources of selected minerals
A mineral is defined as inorganic element containing no carbon that remains as ash when food is burned. Although as many as 40 minerals are in existence, the table below describes the 17 minerals that are essential to human nutrition and lists their functions and sources in food.
|Calcium||Strengthens bones and teeth; involved in muscle contraction and relaxation, blood clotting, water balance, nerve function||Milk and milk products, green leafy vegetables, legumes, fortified foods, almonds, fish (with bones), tofu|
|Phosphorus||Involved in calcification of teeth and bones, acid-base balance, energy metabolism||Meat, poultry, fish, milk, soft drinks, processed foods, whole grains, eggs|
|Sodium||Promotes acid-base balance, water balance, nerve impulse transmission, muscle activity||Salt, soy sauce, processed foods: cured, canned, pickled, and many prepackaged foods|
|Potassium||Facilitates many reactions, especially protein synthesis, water balance, nerve transmission, muscle contraction||Meats, milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes|
|Sulfur||Component of protein; part of biotin, thiamin, insulin||All protein-containing foods|
|Chloride||Part of stomach acid, acid base balance, water balance||Table salt, soy sauce; processed foods|
|Magnesium||Involved in protein synthesis, muscle contraction, nerve transmission||Whole grains, nuts, legumes, chocolate, meat, dark green leafy vegetables, seafoods, cocoa|
|Iron||Hemoglobin formation, part of myoglobin in muscles; used in energy utilization||Red meats, fish, poultry, shellfish, eggs, legumes, dried fruits, fortified cereals and grains|
|Iodine||Part of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone that influences growth and metabolism||Iodized salt, seafood, bread|
|Zinc||Part of insulin and enzymes; vitamin A transport; wound healing; fetus and sperm development; immunity; promotes enzyme activity and metabolism||Protein-containing foods: red meat, seafood, oysters, clams, poultry, eggs, dairy, grains|
|Selenium||Antioxidant; works with vitamin E; immune system response||Seafood, meats, grains|
|Manganese||Essential for normal bone development; activates enzymes||Whole grains, legumes, nuts, green leafy vegetables, meat, tea, coffee|
|Copper||Necessary for formation of hemoglobin; part of energy metabolism enzymes||Organ meats, shellfish, nuts, seeds, legumes, peanut butter, chocolate|
|Fluoride||Formation of bones and teeth; provides resistance to dental caries||Drinking water (naturally occurring or fluoridated), tea, seafood|
|Chromium||Enhances effect of insulin; aids in metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids||Mushrooms, dark chocolate, prunes, nuts, asparagus, brewer's yeast, whole grains, vegetable oils|
|Molybdenum Cobalt||Aids in oxidation reactions As part of vitamin B12, aids in nerve function and blood formation||Legumes, cereals, grains, organ meats Meats, milk, and milk products|
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