Minerals and Trace Elements

 Minerals and trace elements are essential for a person’s normal physical and mental development. Adequate levels of these essential elements are vital for body functions. 

Minerals are found in the body at a concentration of 50 mg per kilogram of body weight. These minerals include chloride, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium and phosphorus.

Trace elements are in the body in smaller amounts than 50 mg per kilogram of body weight. These trace elements include arsenic, lead, chromium, iron, fluorine, iodine, cobalt, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, silicon, vanadium, zinc and tin. It is not conclusively established whether some trace elements fulfil a function in the body. Therefore, trace elements listed in this section are considered to be the most important ones.

What exactly are their roles, in which foods are they found and how are deficiency or overdose symptoms manifested? Find out more.

Preparations and/or supplements containing minerals and trace elements should be taken only when a deficiency has be diagnosed and under a doctor’s order following a consultation.

How do I take care of meeting my daily mineral requirements?
In contrast to vitamins, most minerals are not very sensitive to heat, light and oxygen. However, they can be leached out in water (during food preparation, washing and cooking).
Here are some best practice tips:

  • Wash whole vegetables and fruit as well as possible, prior to preparation
  • Steam or cook vegetables in as little water as possible
  • Many minerals are present in the skin of vegetables and fruit. Therefore, consume unpeeled fruit or vegetables whenever possible.

«5 a Day» shows how the daily mineral and trace element requirements can be met by consuming vegetables and fruits. In the case of some minerals and trace elements, the daily requirement can also be covered by consuming small amounts of food from animal or plant origin.