Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth, and the proper functioning of the heart. A low intake of calcium has been associated with osteoporosis, which weakens the bones of our body and can lead to fractures.
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Although only small amounts - measured in milligrams (mg) or micrograms (ug) - of minerals are required in the diet, minerals have many important functions in the body including bone structure and regulating body fluids.
Each mineral has a different function – find out more information by clicking on the minerals listed.
Iodine is essential in our diet to ensure the thyroid gland in our neck functions normally. The thyroid is responsible for growth, brain development and the rate at which we burn energy.
We need iron to produce haemoglobin in our blood, which carries oxygen around our body. Our immune system also needs iron to work well.
Selenium is a mineral that protects our body against damage by acting as an anti-oxidant. Selenium helps to regulate blood pressure and keep our immune system healthy.
Sodium is most commonly found in food as salt (sodium chloride). A small amount of sodium is required by the body as it plays an essential role in keeping the fluids and electrolytes in our bodies balanced.
Zinc is a trace mineral - needed in only small amounts by our bodies but with many important functions. Zinc deficiency can cause loss of appetite, poor growth, loss of hair, a poorly functioning immune system (leading to constant illness), poor wound healing and changes in taste sensation.