The difference between the major minerals and trace minerals is the amount needed by the body. There are more than a dozen trace minerals and they’re needed in small amounts less than 5 grams.
- Chromium works with insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. It is found in fruits such as apples, bananas, grapes, and oranges; vegetables like broccoli, green beans, and tomatoes; potatoes, red meat, and turkey.
- Copper helps protect cells as an antioxidant; helps produce pigment in hair, eyes, and skin; and helps in the formation of red blood cells. Sources include seafood, nuts, liver, sesame seeds, whole grains such as barley, mushrooms, and spinach.
- Fluoride is in drinking water and in soil; it is often added to public drinking water supplies. It’s also in any food that has water added, and in fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes. In the body it’s mostly in the teeth and bones; fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. If you live in an area where the water is not fluoridated you might need supplements.
- Iodine is in all our body cells, but especially concentrated in the thyroid gland. It’s found in the sea, so natural sources of iodine are seafood and plants grown near the sea. In addition, most table salt has added iodine. Excess iodine isn’t a problem, as it’s expelled in the urine. An iodine deficiency, however, is a serious condition in which the thyroid gland swells.
- Iron is an important component of hemoglobin and other proteins and enzymes. One of the most common nutritional problems in the world is iron deficiency. Vegetarians are especially at risk because iron absorbs easier from meat sources than from plant sources. However, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from plants. It is found in spinach and dried fruit; red meat, liver, kidneys, and poultry; sardines, salmon, tuna, and shrimp; legumes; and whole and enriched grains.
- Selenium is an antioxidant, and may help protect your body from cancer. It is vital for the immune system and the thyroid gland. It’s found in tuna, shellfish like oysters, poultry, Brazil nuts, brown rice, whole wheat bread, wheat germ, cheese, garlic, seeds, and tofu.
- Zinc is essential for many functions of the body, though only a very small amount is needed. Zinc deficiency can result from overuse of alcohol, HIV, diabetes, lack of protein, and various diseases. Sources of zinc include dairy products, eggs, red meat, poultry, crab, lobster, oat bran, Brazil nuts, navy beans, and soybeans.
In conclusion, to be assured of better health take care that your diet includes food with these essential minerals.