Minerals are important elements that we need in our diet. There are two types of minerals:
Macrominerals, which are required in large amounts by the body. They include sodium, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and chloride.
Trace minerals, which are required in smaller amounts by the body. They include iron, copper, selenium, zinc, iodine, chromium, manganese, fluoride, etc.
According to the US NIH, minerals are important for the human body because they help in:
Production of hormones
Production of enzymes
Brain and heart function
Minerals have many other functions as well. Since they're vital to the functioning of our bodies, here's a list of 10 foods rich in minerals.
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1. Seeds and Nuts
Nuts and seeds may be tiny, but they're packed with minerals. They are particularly rich in manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus.
For example, one brazil nut provides 174% of the Required Daily Intake (RDI) of selenium, while a handful of pumpkin seeds provide 40% of the RDI of magnesium (FoodData Central).
You can enjoy seeds and nuts as snacks, and in smoothies and salads.
Shellfish like clams, mussels, oysters, etc are filled with minerals like iron, copper, zinc, and selenium. Around six medium-sized oysters can provide 30% of RDI for selenium and 22% of RDI for iron (FoodData Central).
According to Pubmed Central, shellfish is an important source of zinc for people who are at a higher risk of zinc deficiency, which can result in impaired immune response, growth, and development issues, and increased risk of infections.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and Swisschard are members of the cruciferous family and have various health benefits. These vegetables are nutrient-dense, rich in minerals, and help protect us from chronic diseases as well.
According to US NIH, these vegetables are specifically rich in sulfur. Sulfur is an important mineral required for detoxification, DNA production, and synthesis of glutathione, which is an important antioxidant for the body.
Other minerals found in these vegetables are manganese, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Eggs are referred to as nature's multivitamin as it is nutrient-dense and extremely rich in minerals like iron, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus.
According to Healthline, egg yolk contains all the healthy fats, proteins, minerals, and antioxidants you need. Therefore, you must try to eat the whole egg and not just the egg whites.
According to FoodData Central, besides being rich in proteins and fiber, beans are also a rich source of minerals like iron, copper, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Research has also shown the presence of antinutrients like phytates in beans. Therefore, it is better to cook them after sprouting or soaking them in water to allow the bioavailability of minerals.
Did you know you could increase your mineral intake just by sprinkling some cocoa on your yogurt, smoothie, or by enjoying a piece of dark chocolate?
Cocoa might not be as nutrient-dense as other foods, but it is rich in minerals like copper and magnesium.
According to MedlinePlus, magnesium is beneficial in blood pressure regulation, energy production, blood sugar control, etc. Copper is important for iron absorption, carbohydrate metabolism, blood cell formation, and proper growth or development.
Besides being filled with healthy fats, proteins, fiber, and vitamins, avocados are also rich in minerals like manganese, magnesium, copper, and potassium.
Avocados are specifically rich in potassium. According to MedicalNewsToday, potassium is important for the body to regulate blood pressure, maintain normal levels of fluids, and help in muscle contraction.
According to Healthline, an increase in potassium-rich diet has reduced the risk of heart-related diseases and strokes by 24%.
Who doesn't enjoy eating strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc? But did you know these berries are also a rich source of minerals? Berries contain minerals like magnesium, manganese, and potassium.
Their benefits include:
Improved immune response
Improved nervous system fucntion
Protection against oxidative damage
Healthy bones and tissues
9. Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables like kale, watercress, collard greens, and lettuce are the healthiest foods to include in your diet, and they also contain minerals like iron, copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and calcium.
Moreover, leafy green vegetables have been found to reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases (US NIH).
10. Cheese and Yogurt
Yogurt and cheese are the richest sources of calcium, which is an essential mineral for the nervous system, brain function, and skeletal function (PubMed Central).
Other minerals which can be found in cheese include potassium, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus. However, people intolerant to dairy products must stay away from cheese and yogurt.