Did you ever notice how TV commercials for breakfast cereal always mention vitamins and minerals? But when you think of minerals, food isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Aren't minerals something you find in the earth, like iron and quartz?
Well, yes, but small amounts of some minerals are also in foods — for instance, red meat, such as beef, is a good source of iron.
Just like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions — from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normalheartbeat.
Macro and Trace
The two kinds of minerals are: macrominerals and trace minerals. Macro means "large" in Greek (and your body needslarger amounts of macrominerals than trace minerals). The macromineral group is made up of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfur.
A trace of something means that there is only a little of it. So even though your body needs trace minerals, it needs just a tiny bit of each one. Scientists aren't even sure how much of these minerals you need each day. Trace minerals includes iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, and selenium.
Let's take a closer look at some of the minerals you get from food.
Calcium is the top macromineral when it comes to your bones. This mineral helps build strong bones, so you can do everything from standing up straight to scoring that winning goal. It also helps build strong, healthy teeth, for chomping on tasty food.
Which foods are rich in calcium?
dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
canned salmon and sardines with bones
leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli
calcium-fortified foods — from orange juice to cereals and crackers