What are trace minerals and where can I find them?
Trace minerals, also called micro minerals, are essential minerals that the human body must get from food, but, unlike macro minerals, we only need a very small amount. Even though trace minerals are needed in tiny doses, they are still crucial to our health and development. The recommended daily allowance for most trace minerals is between .2 and 15 milligrams. Find below a list of trace minerals, their functions, and common foods that contain them.
- Chromium is that helps insulin regulate glucose (blood sugar) levels and can be found in liver, whole grains, nuts, and cheeses.
- Copper aids in the formation of bone and cartilage and helps the body use iron properly. Copper can be found in beef, organ meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans.
- Fluoride aids in the formation of bones and teeth and helps prevent tooth decay. It can be found in fish, some teas, and water that is either naturally fluoridated or has added fluoride. It is important not to exceed the recommended daily allowance for fluoride.
- Iron is critical for the manufacture of blood and crucial in pregnancy and early childhood. Iron can be found in meat, poultry, enriched breads and cereals, whole grains, nuts, and beans.
- Manganese is an enzyme that can be found in many foods, particularly plants.
- Molybdenum iodine is found in hormones that help regulate metabolism, growth, and development and can be found in foods that are grown in iodine rich soil. Most people now get iodine from iodized salt since iodine deficiency is a leading worldwide cause of impaired cognitive development in children (1).
- Selenium is an antioxidant found in grains, meat, and seafood. Antioxidants are molecules that can help protect against cell damage.
- Zinc is found in many enzymes in the human body that help make protein and genetic material. Zinc also plays a role in fetal development, wound healing, the immune system, and adolescent development. It can be consumed through meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, and some grains.
(1) Source: WHO.int, Micronutrient deficiencies