Elements are as essential to your body’s health as the key nutrients (protein, carbs, fats etc) and vitamins. There are 96 elements within the body itself, most in very small amounts which is why they are mostly referred to as trace elements. Science also doesn’t know the function of many of the minor elements however, there is a group of essentials that absolutely need to be in your diet.
RDV – 1,000 mg/d
Foods richest in calcium – watercress, mozzarella, pak choi, tofu, okra
Calcium is the most plentiful mineral in your body. You need it for strong teeth and bones. At the same time, it helps your blood clot and muscles contract. Your nerves also use calcium to send and receive signals to and from the brain.
RDV – 700 mg/d
Foods richest in phosphorous – pumpkin seeds, Parmesan cheese, salmon, scallops, Brazil nuts
It is the second most plentiful mineral in the body and is needed for many tasks, such as repairing your tissues and filtering waste. Phosphorus also helps build stronger bones, produce DNA/RNA, and manages how your body stores and utilizes energy. It also plays a role in maintaining a regular heartbeat and facilitates nerve conduction.
RDV – 310 mg/d
Foods richest in magnesium – spinach, pumpkin seeds, mackerel, soy beans, brown rice
Over 300 chemical reactions taking place in your body rely completely on magnesium. It helps maintain healthy nerve and muscle function. It builds a healthy immune system and is equally important for your digestive, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. It also plays a role in preventing health conditions, such as autism, asthma, eclampsia, multiple sclerosis, PMS, and more.
RDV – 55μg/d
Foods richest in sodium – soy sauce, bacon, Roquefort cheese, gherkin (pickles), pumpkin seeds
Salt is a mineral used by your body to help regulate your blood pressure. It is equally important for the electrochemical balance required by neurons to transmit electrical impulses. It also plays a big role in keeping your heartbeat steady.
RDV – 3500 mg/d
Foods richest in potassium – white beans, spinach, baked potato, dried apricots, acorn squash
It helps maintain electrolyte and fluid balance in your body's cells. Your body needs potassium to break down and use carbohydrates for energy. It also helps build proteins, build muscle mass, and control the electrical activity of the heart. The health benefits of potassium include relief from blood pressure, stroke, kidney disorders, stress, and anxiety.
RDV – 18 mg/d
Foods richest in iron – pumpkin seeds, liver, shellfish, cashew nuts, beef
Iron is a key nutrient for almost all living organisms and participates in a number of metabolic processes, including DNA synthesis and electron transport. It also helps carry oxygen around the body. Women need more iron because they lose about 1mg of iron for every day of their menstrual bleeding. An iron deficiency may cause pale complexion, extreme tiredness, heart palpitation, and breathlessness.
RDV – 8 mg/d
Foods richest in zinc – oysters, beef, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds
It helps keep your immune system strong. As your body uses zinc to make protein, it plays a role in building and maintaining muscle mass. Getting recommended amounts of zinc each day prevents issues like hair loss, poor wound healing, and compromised sense of smell and taste. Zinc is also important during pregnancy for proper development of your baby.
RDFV – 150μg/d
Foods richest in iodine – dried seaweed, cod, baked potato, milk, shrimp
Your body needs iodine to make essential thyroid hormones. These hormones are essential for proper brain and bone development during pregnancy. Eating a diet low in iodine may cause stunted growth and mental retardation in young children. It is also important to prevent enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) in adults.
RDV – 55 μg/d
Foods richest in selenium – Brazil nuts, oysters, tuna, whole wheat bread, sunflower seeds
It acts as an antioxidant and prevents cell damage within the body. It also plays a role in preventing heart disease and certain cancers. Selenium is also important for healthy metabolism. It also regulates thyroid function.
RDV – 3 mg/d
Foods rich in fluoride – gherkins (pickles), grape juice, spinach, tomatoes, carrots
Fluoride is a chemical ion of the element fluorine and helps reduce tooth decay. Adding small amounts of fluoride to tap water may help reduce cavities in children. Fluoride also plays a role in maintaining bone structure. It may also prove beneficial against conditions like menopause that cause faster-than-normal bone loss.
RDV – 900μg/d
Foods richest in copper - Oysters, kale, shitake mushrooms, sesame seeds, cashew nuts
Copper is important for normal metabolism. It plays a role in the synthesis of hemoglobin. Your body makes use of copper to process oxygen, allow the nervous system to send signals, generate energy in cells, and develop tendons, skin, and hair.
RDV – 1.8 mg/d
Foods richest in manganese – mussels, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, whole wheat bread, tofu
Found mostly in bones, pancreas, kidneys, and the liver, manganese helps your body form connective tissue, bones, sex hormones, and blood clotting factors. It also plays a key role in calcium absorption, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and blood sugar regulation. It is also a component of the antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase, which helps you fight damaging free radicals.
RDV – 25 mg/d
Foods richest in chromium – broccoli, barley, oats, green beans, tomatoes
Small amounts of chromium are required for normal body functions, such as digesting food. It moves glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, where it can be used to turn carbs, fats, and proteins into energy. Low chromium levels may increase the risk of glaucoma.
From the above you can see it’s relatively easy to ensure you are getting these vital elements. A few foods appear as sources for a number of the elements. Are you eating enough spinach, pumpkin seeds and shellfish?