Similar to vitamins, minerals are also vital for the body. They are components of enzymes, proteins and hormones. They are important for building bones and teeth, regulate blood pressure, nerve and muscle functions and various enzymes.
Minerals are divided into bulk elements and trace elements.
Calcium is important for the formation of bones and teeth, the transmission of nerve impulses, for muscle contraction and blood clotting. Milk and dairy products are particularly good sources of calcium. Calcium-rich mineral water can also be drunk.
Magnesium is a component of bones and teeth. It supports the transmission of nerve impulses and is important for muscle contraction. Magnesium is found in most foods, especially whole grains, sesame seeds, soy and many herbs.
Potassium keeps the water and electrolyte balance, ensures a regular heartbeat, regulates blood pressure and is important for the transmission of nerve impulses. Plant foods contain particularly high amounts of potassium. Rich in potassium are wholemeal products, potatoes, vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, lamb’s lettuce , nuts, mushrooms, dried fruit, fish and bananas.
Sodium, together with potassium, regulates fluid balance and is important for muscle and nerve function. Sodium determines the volume and pressure of the body fluid outside the cells.
Sodium is usually consumed in the form of table salt. The salting of food and the salt content present in food products contribute to the high intake of table salt.
Chlorine regulates the water and electrolyte balance and is important for the formation of stomach acid. Chlorine is mainly absorbed in the form of table salt in combination with sodium.
Phosphorus/phosphate ensures healthy bones and teeth. It is needed for the utilisation of nutrients and the release of energy in the cell. Protein-rich foods such as meat and fish, but also bread and cheese contain phosphorus. Furthermore, so-called phosphates are added to food, e.g. as stabilisers and thickeners.
Chromium is needed by the body to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Notable amounts of chromium are found in meat products, brewer’s yeast, cheese and whole grain products.
Iron is an important building block of haemoglobin and many enzymes involved in energy metabolism. Good sources of iron are red meat and liver. Vegetables, whole grain products and legumes also contain a lot of iron.
As an antioxidant, selenium protects cells from damage caused by free radicals. The selenium content in vegetables and fruit depends on the selenium content of the soil and on fertilisation. Meat, fish and eggs in particular are good sources of selenium. Among plant foods, lentils and asparagus are particularly rich in selenium.
Zinc is important for normal growth , fertility and the immune system. Zinc is an important component of many enzymes. Zinc can generally be better utilised from animal foods than from plant foods. Good sources of zinc are offal, muscle meat, dairy products, various types of fish and especially shellfish. The need for minerals is strongly dependent on the biological situation, stress, diseases and growth of the individual and their environment.