Minerals are inorganic substances, which are needed by our body for various biological functions. They are divided into macro elements and micro elements.
Macroelements are well present in our bodies.
The daily requirement of macro-nutrients is obtained from the diet, and it is quite high, at least 100 mg per day (in adults), sometimes much more. These are: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, potassium, chlorine.
Microelements are, however, present only in trace amounts in our body and their requirements are much lower: a few milligrams or even micrograms. They are: iron, copper, zinc, iodine, chromium, cobalt and fluorine.
All the minerals that our body needs are present in plant foods and perform different functions within our body.Calcium has a primary structural function, being necessary for the formation of bones and teeth. But it also has regulatory functions, particularly of blood clotting and muscle contraction. It is found in green leafy vegetables, vegetables of the cruciferous family (cabbage, broccoli, etc.), nuts and seeds, tofu and tempeh, and also in cereals and legumes.
Phosphorus is an element that combines with calcium to form bones and teeth. It is also involved in cellular energy metabolism. It is found in cereals and legumes.
Iron is very important because it is a constituent of hemoglobin and is also used for muscle function. Legumes, many vegetables, and cereals are rich in it.
Zinc is used by our bodies for immune system function, growth and skin integrity. It is found in nuts and seeds, tofu and tempeh, vegetables, legumes and cereals (especially popcorn).
Iodine serves to regulate thyroid activity. It is obtained from iodized salt or, when salt cannot be taken, from algae.
Potassium is used in the regulation of water content in cells and controls the proper functioning of muscles and heart rhythm. It also serves to maintain proper blood pressure levels and decrease them in those with high blood pressure. It is also helpful in preserving the mineral content of bones. It is found in vegetables, fruits and cereals.
Sodium, like potassium, regulates the water content of cells, and the blood pH. It is found in table salt.
Chlorine is essential for the production of gastric juices. It is found in table salt.
Magnesium is a mineral useful for several enzymatic processes and aids in the assimilation of calcium and potassium. It is found in cereals, legumes, nuts, almonds.
Manganese is an enzyme catalyst that comes into play in protein and fat metabolism. It is found in whole grain flours, nuts, cereals, and green leafy vegetables.
Sulfur is a constituent of some proteins and stimulates bile and liver secretions. It is found in legumes, cereals, and some vegetables.