Minerals are minute amounts of metallic elements that are vital for the healthy growth of teeth and bones. They also help in such cellular activity as enzyme action, muscle contraction, nerve reaction, and blood clotting. Mineral nutrients are classified as major elements (calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur) and trace elements (chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc).


Dietary Source  Major Functions  Deficiency Symptoms
Calcium : Calcium is a major mineral. The human body contains more calcium than any other mineral. Ninety-nine % of your body's calcium is in your bones. Evaporated skim milk, skim or %1 milk, yogurt, greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, whole milk, buttermilk, salmon with bones, cottage cheese, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, almonds, cheese, tofu, corn , legumes (dried beans), calcium fortified soy milk Builds and maintains strong bones and teeth. Helps to regulate heart rhythm and muscle contractions Lowers blood pressure. Aids in regulation of water balance in cells. Helps regulate the passage of nutrients in & out of the cell walls. Important to normal kidney function Rickets (softening of bones) in infants and children. Poor growth in children. Tooth decay, possibly high blood pressure, arm and leg muscles spasms, back and leg cramps.
Chromium cereal, peas,  cheese, liver, egg,  spinach, chicken, mushrooms, wheat bread, apple,  potatoes, vegetable oils. Important in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Works with insulin to help the body use glucose or blood sugar. Helps control the appetite Low blood sugar levels. Impaired glucose tolerance. Impaired growth.
Copper  sunflower seeds, peanuts, mushrooms,  crab, kidney beans, brown rice, potato, pinto beans, black beans, spinach, almonds, shrimp,  nuts, raisins Aids in the formation of red blood cells. Helps production of energy in the cells. Maintains blood vessels, nerves and the immune system. Helps proper bone formation & maintenance. Necessary for the absorption & utilization of iron Anemia, Loss of color in the skin and hair, Damage to the brain and spinal cord, General weakness, Skin sores, Fatigue, Bone fragility.


Fluoride Fluoride is not widely available in food. The primary means of obtaining fluoride is drinking and cooking with fluorinated water.  Helps harden tooth enamel, and protects against tooth decay. May help prevent osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease Increases dental caries (cavities), Weak tooth enamel.
Iodine Iodized salt, saltwater fish,  milk. Aids in the development and functioning of the thyroid gland. Needed for normal growth and development, regulates the body's production of energy. Goiter, enlarged thyroid gland. Loss of physical and mental vigor. Dry skin and hair and weight gain.
Iron : They play a major role in health, since even minute portions of them can powerfully affect health.  Liver, pork, kidneys, red meat, 100% fortified cereal, poultry, eggs, cream of wheat, prune juice, legumes (dried beans) such as navy beans, lima beans and black-eyed peas, nuts, spinach, oysters, blackstrap molasses, enriched breads and cereals, dried fruits, dark green leafy vegetables. Increases resistance to stress and disease. It is part of several enzymes and proteins. Needed for the red blood cell formation and oxygen delivery to tissues and the brain. Prevents fatigue and promotes good skin tone


Anemia , fatigue from anemia, decrease in immune function, paleness of skin, constipation, brittle fingernails.



Whole grain products, brown rice, pineapple, wheat germ, brewed tea, green vegetables such as spinach and kale, oatmeal, black beans, almonds, strawberries, lentils

Vital to many basic metabolic functions. . Aids in bone growth and the function of nerves, bones and muscles. Required for regulation of normal heart rhythm. Aids in regulation of blood pressure and water balance in cells. Nausea, muscle weakness, irritability, abnormalities in heart rhythm, growth failure, leg cramps, kidney stones

Phosphorus Beef liver, beef, poultry, fish such as halibut, canned salmon with bones, eggs, legumes (dried beans) and nuts such as pinto beans, black beans, almonds and peanuts, milk, cheese. Required for formation of healthy bones and teeth, second to only calcium. Necessary for energy metabolism.  Bone loss characterized by weakness, loss of appetite, and pain. Continuous thirst. Dry skin and general weakness

Fruit such as bananas, oranges, peaches, cantaloupe and apricots, dried fruits such as prunes, dates, figs and raisins, milk, vegetables such as potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, artichoke, okra, bell pepper, cauliflower and lettuce, pork, beef, chicken, sunflower seeds

An electrolyte that helps maintain acid-base balance. Helps muscles contract and transmits nerve impulses. Helps with proper function of heart and kidneys. Helps maintain normal blood pressure. Promotes healthy skin. Weakness, anorexia and nausea. Fatigue, muscle damage, irregular heartbeat.



Table salt (sodium chloride), soy sauce, lite soy sauce, monosodium glutamate, processed foods, cottage cheese, bacon, tomato juice, hot dog, V-8 juice, pretzels, processed cheese, ham, canned vegetables, canned foods, luncheon meats, smoked and cured meats, snack chips.

Helps regulate blood pressure and water balance in cells. Helps maintain acid-base balance. Aids in muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. Weakness, dizziness, headache and muscle cramps.
Zinc  Meat such as beef, ground beef and tenderloin, seafood such as pacific oysters and crab, liver, wheat germ, wheat bran, tofu, milk, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, almonds, collard greens Necessary for cell division, growth and proper functioning of the immune system. Plays a role in taste and smell acuity. Important in carbohydrate metabolism and DNA replication. Plays a role in male hormone production. Vital for the development of the reproductive organs. Serves as an antioxidant nutrient. Aids in the digestion and metabolism of phosphorus. Necessary for wound healing. Helps maintain healthy skin and hair. Loss of appetite (related to loss of sense of taste), Skin changes. Susceptibility to infections. Slowed wound healing, fatigue. White spots on finger nails