Minerals are chemical substances needed by the body. Calcium and Phosphorus are needed for the formation of strong bones and teeth. Iron is needed for the formation of red blood cells. Chlorine is needed by the glands in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid. Human hair contains 4 to 6 sulfur. Other minerals are needed for the formation of hormones, enzymes and other body substances. Foods from the four food groups are good sources of minerals.
The absence of minerals can harm the body. a lack of iodine in the diet can cause a goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland. Iodine compounds are added to table salt so that the body gets enough of the mineral to prevent thyroid enlargement.
Minerals used by the body must be in the form of compounds. In a compound the minerals are combined with other elements.Many minerals needed for the body are poisonous in their element form. The elements sodium and chlorine are poisonous. Table salt, a chemical compound of sodium and chlorine is a necessary nutrient. Sodium is necessary to maintain proper blood pressure. Chlorine is an essential part of digestive fluids and helps the body carry carbon dioxide.
As with most nutrients, you can get too much of a good thing. If used in large amounts, minerals can be harmful for your health. For example the high table salt intake has been linked to high blood pressure in some people.
Some minerals with the required intake
|Mineral||Suggested daily amount (mg)||Body function|
|Calcium||800||Blood clotting, development of bones and teeth|
|Chlorine||1700 – 5100||Essential to food digestion, helps blood carry carbon dioxide to the lungs|
|Chromium||0.05 – 0.2||Helps regulate insulin|
|Copper||2 – 3||Helps produce hemoglobin|
|Fluorine||1.5 – 4||Formation of bones and tooth enamel|
|Iron||10||Essential part of hemoglobin|