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Minerals

All food groups contain foods rich in minerals however, the content in our diet varies greatly depending on the quality of foods consumed and the soil and water conditions in which plants have grown. The most common mineral deficiencies include Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Magnesium and Iodide. Tables 3 and 4 describe how these minerals keep you healthy; their function, sources, and effects of getting too little.11

Table 3. Minerals for Bones and Teeth.11
Mineral Source Deficiency
Calcium: (Ca)
  • Most abundant mineral in the body
  • Stored in teeth and bones
  • Muscle contraction
  • Hormone production
  • Dairy
  • Fortified orange juice and soy milk
Hypocalcemia
  • Osteomalacia
  • Osteopenia
  • Rickets
Phosphorus: (P)
  • Formation of bone and teeth
  • Protein synthesis
  • Muscle contraction
  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Nuts and legumes
Hypophosphatemia
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bone pain and fracture
  • Loss of appetite
Fluorine: (F)
  • Increase retention of calcium in teeth and bones
  • Ground water
  • Tea
  • Gelatin
  • Dental caries
  • Bone fractures in elderly
Magnesium: (Mg)
  • Mineralization of bone and teeth
  • Neural transmitter
  • Muscle contraction
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Chocolate
Hypomagnesium
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Muscle tremors
Table 4. Trace Minerals: Needed in smaller amounts but play a powerful role in health.11
Trace Minerals Source Deficiency
Iron:(Fe)
  • Component of hemoglobin
  • Transportation of oxygen
  • Absorption aided by Vitamin C and hampered by phytochemicals
  • Heme iron: meat, fish, poultry
  • Non-heme iron: legumes, leafy greens and chocolate
  • Food insecure households
  • Impaired immunity
  • Angular cheilitis
Zinc: (Zn)
  • Coenzyme in over 100 functions
  • Immunity
  • Wound healing
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Shellfish
  • Loss of appetite, taste and smell
  • Slow tissue repair
  • Eye and skin lesions
Copper (Cu)
  • Aids in the absorption of iron
  • Antioxidant
  • Shellfish
  • Nuts
  • Organ meats
  • Legumes
  • Osteoporosis,
  • Anemia
  • Muscle weakness
Manganese (Mn)
  • Antioxidant
  • Wound healing
  • Co-enzyme
  • Raisin bran cereal
  • Brown rice
  • Pineapple
  • Green tea
  • Growth reduction
  • Glucose intolerance
Iodide (I)
  • Part of thyroid hormone
  • Immune system
  • Iodized salt
  • Cod
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
Hypothyroidism
  • Goiter
  • Weight gain
  • Intolerance to cold