Minerals are inorganic substances that are derived from earth’s soil and water. These nutrients are absorbed by various plants and animals, including humans which rely on them for important biological functions. Since minerals are not produced naturally by the body, the only way to obtain them is through having a balanced diet. In this manner, these essential nutrients can be absorbed by the body through the food that we consume.
In general, there are fourteen minerals that humans need to obtain from their diet. They fall into two categories: macrominerals and trace minerals. The former consist of substances which are needed in large amounts by the body, while the latter are required in smaller quantities. They are as follow:
- Calcium: found in dairy products, cruciferous vegetables and some types of fish
- Phosphorus: found in any animal product and some cereals and breads
- Magnesium: found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, dairy products and seafood
- Sodium: found in most animal products
- Potassium: found in beans, bananas, milk, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and spinach
- Chloride: found in rye, celery, olives and tomatoes
- Iron: found in most animal products, spinach, lentils and whole grains
- Copper: found in liver, shellfish, mushrooms and nuts
- Iodine: found in seafood and iodized salt
- Zinc: found in oysters, nuts, pumpkin seeds, whole grains beans and lentils
- Fluoride: found in saltwater fish, tea and coffee
- Selenium: found in most animal products, vegetables and whole grains
- Chromium: found in broccoli, barley, oats and green beans
- Manganese: found in rye, brown rice, garbanzo beans and spinach
In general, those with diabetes would want to get recommended amounts of all this minerals. However, they are thought in particular to benefit greatly from chromium. Research has suggested that this trace mineral improves both blood glucose and lipid levels. Ideally, you would want to get chromium from dietary sources, since supplements tend to have more risks associated with them.That being said, if you are interested in taking chromium pills, make sure to first consult your doctor before you start to use them.
The best way to ensure you get all of these essential nutrients is to eat a wide variety of foods. As always, speak with a doctor or nutritionist as to how you can safely adjust your diet to include more minerals. If you are worried that you may be lacking one or more of these important substances, we suggest that you speak with your primary care physician or specialist about your concerns.
Note: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek medical advice for any questions regarding a medical condition or changes in your treatment.