Your Guide to Healthy Lifestyle
Minerals makes up only about 4% -5% of body weight, but they are essential nutrients to regulate body processes (regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, nerve impulses) and give body structure. Unlike the organic vitamins, minerals are inorganic, thus cannot be destroyed by heat or other food handling process.
All minerals from food are absorbed in intestines. Once they enter the body, they will remain there to be used or be part of the body structure (eg: bones, teeth). Any excess amounts are excreted. However, body stores minerals too; high level of consumption over long time can be harmful to body.
For diet, minerals are grouped into two categories:
i) Major minerals:
a. Needed in greater amounts
b. Example: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, chloride & potassium
ii) Trace minerals:
a. Needed in very small amount
b. Example: iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum.
Some of the minerals tend to be consumed in less than optimal amounts, those include calcium and iron. Refer table below to understand their importance, deficiency symptoms and food sources.
Lai Huey Qin
B. Sc Dietetics, UPM