Minerals are naturally formed chemical compounds, as with vitamins we only need them in small amounts. Trace elements are dietary elements which we need in even smaller amounts than vitamins and minerals, but they are all essential for our bodies to stay functioning well and healthy.Minerals and Trace element
Needed for the formation and maintenance of our bones and teeth. Helps control our nerves and muscles and is involved in blood clotting.
RNI - Adults 700mg/day
Sources - Milk, cheese and other dairy products, some green leafy veg: broccoli, cabbage, okra (not spinach), fortified soya bean products, bread, tinned fish with bones (pilchards, sardines)
Used in making red blood cells that move oxygen around our bodies, also needed for normal metabolism and some enzyme functions.
RNI - Adults (men) 8.7mg/day (women) 14.8mg/day
Sources - Liver *, red meat, beans, nuts, eggs, dried fruits (apricots), poultry, fish, whole grains, dark green leafy veg.
Do not eat liver if you’re pregnant as it also contains high levels of vitamin A which can harm your unborn baby.
Helps to release energy from the food we eat. To maintain water balance and also important in process of keeping our muscles and bones healthy.
RNI - Adults (men) 300mg/day (women) 270mg/day
Sources - Green leafy veg (spinach), nuts, brown rice, whole grain bread, fish, meat, milk and other dairy products.
Needed to build bones and teeth and to release energy from the food we eat.
RNI - Adults 550mg/day
Sources - Red meat, milk and other dairy products, fish, poultry, bread, rice, oats.
Helps control our bodies water balance and keeps blood pressure healthy. Involved in normal nerve and heart function.
RNI - Adults 3,500mg/day
Sources - Fruit (bananas), vegetables (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, parsnips), fish, shellfish, beans, nuts, seeds, meat, milk and other dairy products.
Used to control our bodies water content. Helps to maintain the function of our central nervous systems.
RNI - Adults are recommended to have no more than 2.4g/day, which is the same as 6g of salt per day.
Sources - Naturally found in very small levels in raw foods, most is added to processed foods we eat.
Helps to keep our teeth strong and protect them from decay.
RNI - Adults are recommended to brush their teeth at least twice daily, with toothpaste containing 1350-1500ppm of fluoride.
Sources - Fluorinated water, toothpaste, tea, fish.
Needed to help make thyroid hormones, helping to keep our cells and body metabolism healthy.
RNI - Adults 0.14mg/day
Important for our bodies immune system and normal function of reproductive systems. Also helps prevent damage to our bodies cells and tissues.
RNI - Adults (men) 0.075mg/day (women) 0.06mg/day
Sources - Brazil nuts, fish, meat, eggs, bread.
Helps to process energy from food we eat, important in making new body cells, tissue repair and wound healing. Also needed for normal reproductive development.
RNI - Adults (men) 9.5mg/day (women) 7mg/day
Sources - Meat, milk and milk products, eggs, shellfish, wholegrain cereals.Storage and Cooking
The storage and cooking of food is very important, this applies every bit as much to preserving the minerals and trace elements as it does to the vitamins.
Being exposed to the air, light, heat or water for too long during storage or cooking will destroy many of the minerals and trace elements they contain.
To make sure as few of the beneficial minerals and trace elements are lost before use. Dried foods such as cereals, bread, pasta, rice and nuts, as well as any tinned foods, should be stored in a dry and cool place, such as a store cupboard away from the oven or any windows.
Fresh fruit and vegetables should be kept at the bottom of the fridge, in the vegetable drawers, or at least in a cooler place. Frozen fruit and vegetables have been picked at their peak and quickly frozen, stopping the degrading process so can be stored longer, for months and used when needed.
During food preparation, to make sure as little of the minerals and trace elements are lost as possible, foods should be stored in cool, airtight places, especially once they have been peeled or chopped such as vegetables or fruit. The best cooking methods to choose, are those that don’t bring water or heat into contact with the food for too long, try to use steaming, microwaving or grilling.
If you are boiling, however, a good habit to take up is to keep the water to use as the base of a stock to use in soups or stews. Not only will it be full of flavour, all those beneficial minerals and trace elements will be saved as well.