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 coming through leaching, that is, the minerals are lost washed away by the 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:
|Mineral||Important For||Main food sources|
|Calcium (Ca)||Healthy bones and teeth nervous system muscle contraction blood clotting immune system health||Milk and dairy products, dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens, sardines, beans, chickpeas almonds|
|Phosphorus (P)||Healthy bone tooth structure cell structure||Sunflowers seeds, milk and dairy products, nuts, eggs, salmon, tuna, pork|
|Sodium (Na)||Proper fluid balance nerve transmission muscle contraction||Table salt, soy sauce; large amounts in processed foods; small amounts in milk, breads, vegetables, and unprocessed meats|
|Chloride (Cl)||Proper fluid balance stomach acid||Table salt, soy sauce; large amounts in processed foods; small amounts in milk, meats, breads, and vegetables|
|Magnesium (Mg)||Bones muscle contraction nerve transmission immune system health||Nuts and seeds, legumes, green vegetables; seafood; chocolate|
|Potassium (K)||Nerve transmission muscle contraction||Nuts, legumes, dark chocolate, fish, leafy green, dried apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi|
|Sulfur (S)||Found in protein molecules||Foods rich in protein: meats, fish, eggs, milk and dairy products|
|Iron (Fe)||Formation of haemoglobin in red blood cells||Liver, red meat, legumes, shellfish (specially clams), almonds, spinach, poultry, dark chocolate|
|Zinc (Zn)||Wound healing fetal development growth sexual maturation immune system health||Oysters, seeds, nuts, meats, fish (anchovies, sardines), whole grains|
|Iodine (I)||The thyroid hormones||Seafoods (sea fish, shellfish, and seaweed), iodized salt|
|Fluoride (F)||Formation of bones and teeth prevention of tooth decay||Drinking water (either fluoridated or naturally containing fluoride), fish, and most teas|
|Copper (Cu)||Production of red and white blood cells infant growth brain development the immune system strong bones||Shellfish, liver, kidney, nuts and wholegrain cereals|
|Selenium (Se)||Protection of the body against oxidative damage||Brazil nuts, tuna, oysters, eggs, cheese|
|Manganese (Mn)||Bone formation||Nuts, mussels, rice, seeds, legumes|
|Chromium (Cr)||Blood sugar levels regulations||Unrefined foods, especially liver, brewer's yeast, whole grains, nuts, cheeses|
|Molybdenum (Mo)||Part of some enzymes||Liver, 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.
How varied is your diet? Let us know in the comments below!
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