top-banner-mineralsassist.jpg
Inside Our Food

Minerals | Where to Find Them and How to Preserve Them

Do you include minerals in your diet? Explore the types of minerals, their importance, functions, and the main food sources of each of them. Moreover, discover how to best preserve minerals when cooking.

How to preserve minerals in food?

The main losses of minerals in food generally come from the way in which food is handled - the majority of mineral loss comes through leaching, that is, the minerals are lost and washed away by water. A better way to preserve the mineral content in food would be to choose fast-cooking methods like stir-frying, or procedures that do not involve immersing the food in water for a long time, such as steaming or microwaving.

Read more about what minerals are and how much to consume

Why are minerals important, and which foods contain them?

The following table shows each mineral’s main function as well as its main food sources:

MineralImportant ForMain food sources
Calcium (Ca)Healthy bones and teethnervous systemmuscle contractionblood clottingimmune system healthMilk and dairy products, dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens, sardines, beans, chickpeas almonds
Phosphorus (P)Healthy bonetooth structurecell structureSunflowers seeds, milk and dairy products, nuts, eggs, salmon, tuna, pork
Sodium (Na)Proper fluid balancenerve transmissionmuscle contractionTable salt, soy sauce; large amounts in processed foods; small amounts in milk, breads, vegetables, and unprocessed meats
Chloride (Cl)Proper fluid balancestomach acidTable salt, soy sauce; large amounts in processed foods; small amounts in milk, meats, breads, and vegetables
Magnesium (Mg)Bonesmuscle contractionnerve transmissionimmune system healthNuts and seeds, legumes, green vegetables; seafood; chocolate
Potassium (K)Nerve transmissionmuscle contractionNuts, legumes, dark chocolate, fish, leafy green, dried apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi
Sulfur (S)Found in protein moleculesFoods rich in protein: meats, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products
Iron (Fe)Formation of haemoglobin in red blood cellsLiver, red meat, legumes, shellfish (specially clams), almonds, spinach, poultry, dark chocolate
Zinc (Zn)Wound healingfetal developmentgrowthsexual maturationimmune system healthOysters, seeds, nuts, meats, fish (anchovies, sardines), whole grains
Iodine (I)The thyroid hormonesSeafoods (sea fish, shellfish, and seaweed), iodized salt
Fluoride (F)Formation of bones and teethprevention of tooth decayDrinking water (either fluoridated or naturally containing fluoride), fish, and most teas
Copper (Cu)Production of red and white blood cellsinfant growthbrain developmentthe immune systemstrong bonesShellfish, liver, kidney, nuts and wholegrain cereals
Selenium (Se)Protection of the body against oxidative damageBrazil nuts, tuna, oysters, eggs, cheese
Manganese (Mn)Bone formationNuts, mussels, rice, seeds, legumes
Chromium (Cr)Blood sugar levels regulationsUnrefined foods, especially liver, brewer's yeast, whole grains, nuts, cheeses
Molybdenum (Mo)Part of some enzymesLiver, peas, lentils, cocoa, oats, beans

A varied diet is key

It is very important a regular intake of both macro-minerals and trace minerals. Eating a varied diet will help ensure an adequate supply of most minerals for healthy people. 


Do you want to receive information and advice about how to improve your food habits and choices? Check our partners’ website ASSIST: Towards a smarter shopping list.

Related articles

Most viewed

Earth First

How Does Colour Affect The Way We Eat?

Dr Caroline Wood

It's often said that "we eat with our eyes" and science shows this is true - colour plays an…

Earth First

The Surprising Sources of Protein That Are Not Animal Products

Kelly Oakes

Just because you don’t eat meat, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on protein. In fact,…

Inside Our Food

What Are Rice Noodles and How Are They Made?

Samanta Oon

Rice is one of the most important grains in Asian cuisine. It is so important that in several Asian…

Inside Our Food

9 Essential Amino Acids | Food Sources to Find Them

Lynn Liu

Amino acids are known as the building blocks of proteins. While the body needs 20 different amino…

Inside Our Food

Animal Vaccination (Meat Safety) | How it works

Marie Lödige

Animals are exposed to diseases just like you and me. And just like us, they can be protected by…

Earth First

Spirulina | How It’s Grown

Katharina Kropshofer

The blue-green algae spirulina might feel like a modern food, but Indigenous people in Mexico and…

Earth First

Sourdough Starter: How it Works

Sedeer el Showk

Baking sourdough bread has become an increasingly popular pastime and source of comfort for many…

Inside Our Food

Fermentation of Yoghurt and the Chemistry Behind it

Carolina Moyano

Fermentation is a natural process that can be used in a number of ways for a wide variety of food…

Earth First

Tofu | How It’s Made

Samanta Oon

Look into any modern-day tofu factory, and you will see the shiny gleam of machinery needed to…

Earth First

Bioavailability of Plant-Based Proteins

Adrià Porta

Compared to animal-based proteins, plant proteins have reduced digestibility and bioavailability.…

Earth First

Oat Milk | How It’s Made

Inés Oort Alonso

If you have ever had a go at making oat milk at home, you might have found some stark differences…

Earth First

Cashew Nuts | How It’s Made

Molly Melvin

Brought over from Brazil, nurtured in India and commercialised worldwide, the cashew nut has become…

Keep updated with the latest news about your food with our newsletter

Follow Us