A-Z of Major Minerals

The chart below gives a synopsis of the major minerals your body needs, what they do and in which foods you can find them:




Food Sources




major structural component of bones and teeth; necessary for many enzymes, including those of blood clotting, muscle contraction and conduction of nerve impulses

milk, cheese, bread and flour (if fortified),cereals, green vegetables




major negative ion (as chloride,C1") in body fluids; present in stomach secretions as hydrochloric acid (HCl)

main source is salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) used in food processing, cooking,and at the table




essential for haemoglobin to transport oxygen to human tissue and store/release oxygen for energy in muscles

present as (more readily absorbed) haeme iron in red meat, fish and poultry otherwise as non-haeme iron in legumes and dark green leafy vegetables




present in bone, inside cells and in body fluids; needed for some enzymes

Nuts, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, milk, bread and other cereal products



present in bones and teeth; essential for ATP and DNA and many other molecules

milk, cheese, bread and cereals, meat and meat products, nuts




main positive ion inside cells; K+ also present in extracellular fluids; essential for conduction of nerve impulses, also for the maintenance of ion concentration gradients across cell membranes

widely distributed in vegetables, meat, milk, fruit and fruit juices




a mineral which is a natural anti-oxidant for the human body                        

present in most foods of western countries with selenium rich soil, particularly present in brazil nuts, liver, seafood




present in protein

main source is salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) used in food processing, cooking, and at the table


(Source: The Open University, United Kingdom)