Food Minerals

When I was young, I did not realize that food minerals, such as copper, were the same minerals that are found in things you don’t eat, like copper pipes!  Of course, I have since studied chemistry and learned about the Periodic Table of the Elements, where all the known elements, including food minerals are shown along with their unique properties. It doesn't matter if the copper is in metal pipes used in construction or in your blood, it is the same element.

Minerals are generally divided into two categories.

There are those that are found in very small amounts in the body which are called “trace minerals.” These include Zinc, Selenium, Molybdenum, Manganese, Iron, Iodine, Fluoride, Copper and Chromium.  Only small or “trace” amounts of these minerals are required for good health.

The second group of minerals are the “major minerals.”  These are found in great abundance in your body and include Sodium, Sulfate, Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Chloride and Calcium. Larger amounts of these minerals are necessary in a healthy diet

A deficiency of either the trace minerals or the major minerals will result in poor health and even disease.

--For instance, if you fail to get enough calcium you may experience muscle cramping and fragile bones.

--A lack of sufficient iron and copper may make you feel tired all the time.

--Zinc deficiency may make you more likely to get sick.

--You may feel dizzy and weak if your blood potassium level drops too low.

--Iodine is important for your thyroid, which means not enough may cause you to gain weight.

Interesting Fact: Many people think of sodium as a bad actor in the food supply.  What is not generally understood is that sodium is of vital importance to good health, since it is necessary in order for your body to maintain proper fluid balance and normal nerve and muscle function. The problem comes in when you eat too much sodium, particularly if you have high blood pressure and are sensitive to sodium. 

Minerals are found in many foods

Each category of food, Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Meat and other Protein foods, will provide the minerals you need to satisfy your body’s requirements.  It is necessary to eat a variety of foods from all the food groups to be sure of a ready supply of the necessary nutrients.

Fortified and enriched foods can also help you meet your mineral needs.

Many cereal products and flours are fortified with minerals such as iron.  Milk products and some juices may be enriched with added minerals to help you meet your recommended allowances of these important nutrients.

For more information about specific food minerals, click on the links below:

Majors:  Calcium Chloride Magnesium  Phosphorus  Potassium  Sulfate Sodium

Trace:   Chromium Copper Fluoride Iodine Iron Manganese Molybdenum Selenium Zinc

Click on this link to go from Food Minerals page to Healthy Granola Recipe page.