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Minerals , just like vitamins, are needed to help the body grow, develop and remain healthy. There are two types of minerals: macro minerals and trace minerals. The body requires larger amounts of macro minerals (“macro” from the Greek word for “large.”) Examples of macro minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride and sulfur. Trace minerals, which your body needs only a tiny amount of each one, include manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium. The body uses minerals for various functions, from maintaining a normal heartbeat, building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Here is a closer look at some of the most important minerals needed by the human body:

Calcium is needed for strong bones and healthy teeth. This macro mineral is found in dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt. Other good sources of calcium include salmon and sardines with bones, leafy green vegetables and calcium-fortified foods like orange juice and cereals.

Iron is an important mineral needed by the body to transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron helps in the formation of hemoglobin, which is part of the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Foods rich in iron are meat, especially red meat, tuna and salmon, eggs, beans, potatoes with skins, leafy green vegetables and whole grains.

Potassium helps keep muscles and the nervous system working properly. Potassium also helps regulate the amount of water needed in the body tissues. Good sources of potassium include bananas, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes with skins, leafy green vegetables, oranges and legumes.

Zinc is important for the immune system to help fight off illnesses and infections. It also helps with cell growth and healing wounds. Rich sources of zinc are beef, pork and legumes like beans, peas, lentils and peanuts.


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