Dietary minerals are the chemical elements needed by your body in addition to the four continuously present elements: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. They can be divided into bulk minerals (of which your body needs at least 100mg per day), and trace minerals (of which you need only tiny amounts). Naturally present in food, it is also possible to increase your intake with supplements, although these should be taken with care. Excessive intake can make you ill, as the different chemical elements in your body compete with one another, and two much of one can cause a deficiency in another.

Bulk elements

  • Calcium: Found in dairy products and green leafy vegetables, it is needed for bones and teeth.
  • Magnesium: Found in nuts, soy beans and cocoa, magnesium is needed for carbohydrate and protein metabolism, cell reproduction and muscle action.
  • Phosphorus: Found in dairy products, and also necessary for bone and teeth formation.
  • Potassium: Found in pulses, whole grains and bananas, it is required for electrolyte balance and heart muscle activity.
  • Sodium: Found in table salt, milk and spinach, it is needed for Ph balance, cell permeability and muscle function.
  • Sulfur: Found in meat, eggs and pulses, it is necessary for energy metabolism, the structure of proteins, enzyme function and detoxification.
Trace elements
The following elements are needed by your body in only tiny amounts, but make an essential contribution to your health, including red blood cell formulation, and strengthening bones and teeth.
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Fluorine
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Selenium
  • Zinc