The Scoop on Minerals: Functions, Food Sources, Your Needs.

By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

Here’s an excellent resource to ensure you are getting the minerals you need to maintain your health. Eating a diet which includes brightly colored fruits and vegetables will help you to get an adequate amount of vital minerals each day.


Calcium

Function – Necessary for born formation, enzyme reactions and muscle contractions.  Body functions nervous system functions and muscle contraction.

Food Sources – Dairy products, salmon (with bones), sardines, seafood, dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, asparagus, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, oats, tofu, whey, yogurt, figs.

DRI/day – Females and males: 1,000 mg.  UL/day – Females and males: 2,500 mg

Toxicity – Constipation, malabsorption of iron, magnesium, and zinc; cardiac arrhythmia; kidney stones.

Deficiency – Poor muscles function, osteoporosis.

 

Phosphorus

Function – Necessary for building bones and teeth; aids in metabolism. Body functions:  cofactors and activators for energy metabolism and bone metabolism.

Food Sources – Meat, fish, dairy products, carbonated beverages, brewer’s yeast, corn, dairy products, asparagus, dairy products, eggs.

DRI/day – Females and males: 700 mg. UL/day – Females and males: 4,000 mg.

Toxicity – Rare but can include GI distress and low bone density.

Deficiency – Rare but can include muscle weakness and low bone density.

 

Magnesium

Function – Necessary for energy production, muscle relaxation, and nerve signal conduction.  Body functions:  cofactors and activators for energy metabolism, nervous system functions and muscle contraction, immune function, and bone metabolism.

Food Sources – Dairy products, fish, meat, seafood, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, cantaloupe, green leafy vegetables, lima beans, nuts, salmon, tofu, whole grains.

DRI/day – Females: 320 mg. Males: 420 mg. UL/day – Females and males: 350 mg (if taken as supplements).

Toxicity – Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea.

Deficiency – Rare but can include cramps, muscle cramps, cardiac arrhythmias, muscle weakness.

 

Sodium

Function – Necessary for nerve impulses, muscle action and body fluid balance. Body functions nervous system functions and muscle contraction.

Food Sources – Table salt, most foods except fruits.

DRI/day – Females and males: 1,500 mg. UL/day – Females and males: 2,300 mg

Toxicity – Hypertension.

Deficiency – Hyponatremia, muscle cramping, vomiting, nausea, seizures, coma, anorexia.

 

Potassium

Function – Necessary for fluid balance, muscle action, and glycogen and protein synthesis. Body functions nervous system functions and muscle contraction.

Food Sources – Dairy products, fish, fruit, legumes, meat, poultry, vegetables, whole grains, apricots, bananas, lima beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, nuts, potatoes, raisins, dates, figs.

DRI/day – Females and males: 4,700 mg.  UL/day – none.

Toxicity – Hyperkalemia (may lead to cardiac arrythmias and altered heart function).

Deficiency – Hypokalemia (associated with anorexia, muscle-cramping, and arrhythmias).

 

Chloride

Function – Necessary for stomach acid production, nerve function, water balance. Body functions: nervous system functions.   

Food Source – Table salt.

DRI/day – Females and males: 2,000 – 2,300 mg. UL/day – Females & males: 3,600 mg.

Toxicity – Hypertension (in a small percentage)

Deficiency – Vomiting, convulsions (rare).

 

Selenium

Function – Functions as a antioxidant.

Food Sources – Meat, seafood like salmon, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, wheat germ, dairy products.

DRI/day – Females and males: 55 mcg.  UL/day – Females and males: 400 mcg.

Toxicity: Rare but can include hair loss, GI tract distress and nausea.

Deficiency – Rare but can include heart damage.

 

Chromium

Function – Necessary for glucose uptake. Body functions:  cofactors and activators for energy metabolism.

Food Sources – Beef, beer, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, cheese, turkey, fish, whole grains, dried beans, broccoli, chicken, corn, dairy products, eggs, green beans, mushrooms, potatoes.

DRI/day – Females: 1.8 mcg. Males: 35 mcg.  UL/day – None.

Toxicity – Not likely.

Deficiency – Glucose intolerance.

 

Manganese

Function – Necessary for bone and tissue development and fat synthesis.  Body functions:  cofactors and activators for energy metabolism and bone metabolism.

Food Sources – Avocados, nuts, seeds, whole grains, blueberries, egg yolks, legumes, dried peas, pineapples, green leafy vegetables.

DRI/day – Females: 1.8 mg. Males: 2.3 mg.  UL/day – Females and males: 11 mg.

Toxicity – Fatigue, confusion, neurological issues.

Deficiency – Poor growth and development in children.

 

Iodine

Function – Necessary for regulating metabolism.  Body functions:  cofactors and activators for energy metabolism.

Food Sources – Iodized salt, seafood.

DRI/day – Females and males: 150 mcg.  UL/day – Females and males: 1,100 mcg.

Toxicity – Inadequate production of thyroxine.

Deficiency – Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), obesity.

 

Zinc

Function – Necessary for tissue growth and healing, immune health, and gonadal development.

Body functions:  cofactors and activators for energy metabolism, immune function, and antioxidant function.

Food Sources – Brewer’s yeast, egg yolks, fish, legumes, lima beans, meats, mushrooms, pecans, poultry, sardines, seafood, soybeans, whole grains.

DRI/day – Females: 8 mg. Males: 11 mg.  UL/day – Females and males: 40 mg.

Toxicity – Impaired immune system, nausea, slow wound healing.

Deficiency – Impaired immune function and wound healing, dry skin, anorexia.

 

Copper

Function – Necessary for hemoglobin formation, energy production and immune health. Body functions:  cofactors and activators for energy metabolism and antioxidant function.

Food Sources – Almonds, avocados, barley, beans such as soybeans, beets, broccoli, garlic, lentils, liver, mushrooms, nuts, oats, oranges, raisins, seafood like salmon, green leafy vegetables.

DRI/day – Females and males: 900 mcg. UL/day – 10,000 mcg.

Toxicity – Rare but can include nausea and vomiting.

Deficiency – Rare but can include anemia.

 

Iron

Function – Necessary for hemoglobin formation, muscle growth and function and energy production.

Body functions:  cofactors and activators for energy metabolism, hemoglobin synthesis, and antioxidant function.

Food Sources – Eggs, fish, liver, meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, enriched breads and cereals, almonds, avocados, brewer’s yeast, kidney and lima beans, lentils, dried prunes, raisins, peaches, pears, sesame seeds, rice and wheat bran. 

DRI/day – Females: 18 mg. Males: 8 mg.  UL/day – Females and males: 45 mg.

Toxicity – Hemochromatosis, liver damage.

Deficiency – Fatigue, low energy metabolism, lower resistance to infection.

DRI – Dietary Reference Intakes

UL – Tolerable Upper Intake Level

Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition, www.DayByDayNutrition.com, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, www.KentuckianaHealthWellness.com. Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for www.LiveStrong.com as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.    

 

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