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Minerals

Approximately 4% of the body's mass consists of Minerals (McArdle et al. 2000)[2]. They are classified as trace minerals (body requires less than 100 mg/day), and major minerals (body requires more than 100 mg/day).

Trace Minerals

The trace minerals are iron, zinc, copper, selenium, iodine, fluorine and chromium.

Major Minerals

The major minerals are sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, sulphur, cobolt and chlorine.

Function

Minerals serve three roles (McArdle et al. 2000)[2]:

  • They provide structure in forming bones and teeth
  • They help maintain normal heart rhythm, muscle contractility, neural conductivity, and acid-base balance
  • They help regulate cellular metabolism by becoming part of enzymes and hormones that modulate cellular activity

Daily Requirements

Minerals cannot be made in the body and must be obtained in our diet. The daily requirements of minerals required by the body can be obtained from a well balanced diet but, like vitamins, excess minerals can produce toxic effects.

The recommended daily requirements of minerals for men, women are shown in the table below (NHS Direct Online 2007)[1].

Minerals Men Women Sources
Calcium 700mg 700mg milk, cheese and other dairy foods green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and okra, but not spinach, soya beans, tofu, soya drinks with added calcium, nuts, bread and anything made with fortified flour, fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and pilchards
Iodine 0.14mg 0.14mg sea fish and shellfish, cereals, grains
Iron 8.7mg 14.8mg liver, meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit, such as dried apricots, wholegrains, such as brown rice, fortified breakfast cereals, soybean flour, most dark-green leafy vegetables, such as watercress and curly kale
Beta-carotene 7mg 7mg yellow and green (leafy) vegetables, such as spinach, carrots and red peppers, yellow fruit such as mango, melon and apricots
Boron <6mg <6mg green vegetables, fruit, nuts
Chromium 0.025mg 0.025mg meat, wholegrains, such as wholemeal bread and whole oats, lentils, spices
Cobalt 0.0015mg 0.0015mg fish, nuts, green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach, cereals, such as oats
Copper 1.2mg 1.2mg nuts, shellfish, offal
Magnesium 300mg 270mg nuts, spinach, bread, fish, meat, dairy foods
Manganese <0.5mg <0.5mg tea, bread, nuts, cereals, green vegetables such as peas and runner beans
Phosphorus 550mg 550mg red meat, dairy foods, fish, poultry, bread, rice, oats
Potassium 3,500mg 3,500mg fruit such as bananas, vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds, milk, fish, shellfish, beef, chicken, turkey, bread
Selenium 0.075mg 0.06mg brazil nuts, bread, fish, meat, eggs
Sodium chloride (salt) <6g <6g ready meals, meat products, such as bacon, some breakfast cereals, cheese, some tinned vegetables, some bread, savoury snacks
Zinc 9mg 7mg meat, shellfish, milk, dairy foods, such as cheese, bread, cereal products, such as wheat germ.

Vitamin and mineral interactions

Many vitamins and minerals interact, working alongside each other in groups e.g. a good balance of vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, fluoride, chloride, manganese, copper and sulphur is required for healthy bones.

Many of them can enhance or impair another vitamin or mineral's absorption and functioning e.g. an excessive amount of iron can cause a deficiency in zinc.


References

  1. NHS Direct Online (2007) Vitamins and Minerals [WWW] Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/vitamins-minerals.aspx [Accessed 08/08/2007]
  2. McARDLE, W.D. et al. (2000) Micronutrints and Water. In: McARDLE, W.D. et al., 2nd ed. Essentials of Exercise Physiology, USA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, p. 75

Related References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • SOETANo, K. O. et al. (2010) The importance of mineral elements for humans, domestic animals and plants: A review. African Journal of Food Science4 (5), p. 200-222
  • WALL, T. (2012) Natures Power: The Importance of Minerals in a Healthy Diet. Xlibris Corporation

Page Reference

The reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Minerals [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/minerals.htm [Accessed

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