What Is Minerals In Nutrition?

Minerals are essential nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy. They are found in food and water, and the body cannot produce them on its own. Minerals are important for many different functions, including:

  • Building and maintaining strong bones and teeth
  • Regulating fluid balance
  • Supporting muscle and nerve function
  • Producing hormones and enzymes
  • Helping the body absorb and use other nutrients

There are two main types of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals.

  • Macrominerals are needed in larger amounts, and include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride.
  • Trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts, but are still important for health. These include iron, zinc, iodine, copper, manganese, selenium, and chromium.

Minerals can be found in a variety of foods, but some of the best sources include:

  • Dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Leafy green vegetables: spinach, kale, collard greens
  • Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds
  • Beans and lentils
  • Fruits and vegetables: oranges, bananas, potatoes, carrots
  • Meat, poultry, and fish

Most people can get the minerals they need from a healthy diet. However, some people may need to take a mineral supplement, such as if they have a medical condition that affects their absorption of minerals or if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Here are some examples of the roles that minerals play in nutrition:

  • Calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. It is also important for blood clotting, muscle contraction, and nerve function.
  • Iron is necessary for carrying oxygen throughout the body. It is also important for making red blood cells.
  • Potassium is important for fluid balance, muscle contraction, and nerve function.
  • Magnesium is involved in over 300 different body processes, including energy production, muscle function, and nerve signaling.
  • Zinc is important for the immune system, wound healing, and taste and smell.
  • Iodine is necessary for the thyroid gland to produce hormones that regulate metabolism and growth.

It is important to get a variety of minerals from your diet. If you are concerned that you may not be getting enough minerals, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.

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