by Jessica Sanders

In most health discussions, you hear professionals echoing each other: eat foods with plenty of vitamins and minerals. So, what exactly are minerals? And what food can you get eat to get them?

According to, minerals help you build strong bones and teeth, and are essential to:

  • mineralsHealthy hair
  • Necessary nerve function
  • Glowing skin
  • Oxygen and nutrient rich blood
  • And metabolic processes, such as energy and water balance

They explain, “This means that minerals are needed for the body to work properly, for growth and development, and overall, for maintaining normal health.”

Minerals are the dietary components that your body needs to perform hundreds of roles in your body but cannot manufacture on its own in sufficient amounts.

The minerals in soil and water easily find their way into your body through the plants, fish, animals, and fluids you consume.

But, not all minerals are created equal, however, and different amounts of each one are required to maintain various aspects of a healthy body. Each mineral is categorized into two groups based on how much your body needs each one:

  • Micro-minerals, your body needs only trace amounts of these
  • Major minerals, your body needs plenty of these

Not sure where to start? Here is a closer look at the six important minerals your body needs to function at its healthiest.


Perhaps one of the most talked about minerals, calcium, is known for helping to build strong and healthy bones. But, that’s not its only job! Calcium is also considered an electrolyte mineral. This means it dissolves in water and forms ions which transmit the impulses needed to contract your muscles. It also ensures that your blood clots normally.

Type: Major mineral

Recommended for Adults: 700 mg/day

Get Your Daily Intake:

  • Dairy products, such as raw or organic yogurt, cheese and milk
  • Nuts, such as almonds and brazil nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Okra
  • Dark leafy vegetables
  • Dried herbs, such as basil and thyme


Your body only needs chromium in small amounts, but the little you do have is used for digesting food. It also helps to regulate your blood sugar levels, which makes this an important mineral for people who are diabetic or pre-diabetic. For women, this is an especially important mineral; chromium helps slow the loss of calcium, therefore slowing bone loss later in life.

Type: Micro-mineral

Recommended for Adults: 200 mcg/day

Get Your Daily Intake:

  • Whole grains
  • Garlic
  • Banana
  • Green beans
  • Potatoes


6 minerals

This mineral is present in all body tissues, and helps in bone and connective tissue production. It keeps your immune system, blood vessels and nerves healthy, and works with the iron in your body to create red blood cells. It’s also needed to code enzymes that eliminate free radicals and produce melatonin.

Type: Micro-mineral

Recommended for Adults: 2 mg/day

Get Your Daily Intake:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Water
  • Liver
  • Sesame seeds
  • Calamari
  • Nuts such as hazelnuts and cashews


This is another electrolyte mineral, but chloride one has a negative charge. It works with sodium and potassium (both positive charges) to manage the fluids going in and out of blood vessels and tissues, keeping them at the right levels. It’s also an important regulator for stomach acid, making up a part of the hydrochloric acid, otherwise known as gastric juices. This process is critical for proper food digestion.

Type: Major-mineral

Amount: 2.3 g/day

Get Your Daily Intake:

  • Table salt
  • Celery
  • Cured meats
  • Rye bread
  • Olives


Your body needs iodine to regulate thyroid hormones, which ultimately controls the body’s metabolism. The all important mineral iodine is also necessary for brain development, making it important that pregnant woman and infants have a significant intake.

  • From birth to 6 months, infants need 110 mcg/day.
  • 6 months to a year they need 130 mcg/day.
  • Pregnant women need 220 mcg/day.
  • Breastfeeding women require 290 mcg/day.

Type: Micro-mineral

Recommended for Adults: 150 mcg/day

Get Your Daily Intake:

  • Fish such as cod and tuna
  • Iodized salt
  • Cranberries
  • Navy beans
  • Strawberries
  • Raw or organic yogurt


Iron plays an important part in hemoglobin and myoglobin production, both of which are important proteins and enzymes that help carry oxygen to your blood. However, there are two important types of iron.

  • Heme iron, which is found in red meat and poultry, and better absorbed by your body
  • Non-heme iron, which is found in leafy greens and enriched cereal.

Both are important for organ function and energy. Because of menstruation, women are at greater risk for iron deficiency than men.

Type: Micro-mineral


  • Men: 8 mg/day
  • Women: 18 mg/day

Get Your Daily Intake:

  • Egg yolks
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Spinach
  • White beans

That’s not all. There are a number of other important minerals to include in your diet such as:

  • Manganese
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

Minerals are critical to a healthy, functioning body. Everything from healthy hair and skin to proper nervous system function and oxygen flow are dependent on having the right amount of minerals each and every day.

Consult with your doctor before taking any supplements because having too much of one major mineral can result in a deficiency of another.

It is best to consider which foods that are rich in micro and major minerals you can add into your diet to help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. Any whole foods will benefit your body, so why not add a few more to your shopping list.

Do you take a daily mineral? If so, which one? Comment below!

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