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Mineral Deficiency Symptoms :: Benefits :: Food Sources

The list of minerals below provides a quick reference guide to the benefits of minerals, mineral deficiency symptoms, and mineral food sources.

Calcium · Chloride · Chromium · Copper · Fluoride · Iodine · Iron · Magnesium · Manganese · Molybdenum · Phosphorus · Potassium · Selenium · Sodium · Zinc ·

Minerals for Health minerals for health
Minerals are just as important to health as vitamins.  They are critical for growth, metabolism, absorption of vitamins and other nutrients, prevention and cure of diseases, and almost every biochemical process in the body.

Mineral Deficiency Symptoms mineral deficiency symptoms
A deficiency arises if there is a lack of one or more minerals.  Deficiencies usually develop slowly, and increase in severity if not addressed.  In the early stages, symptoms can be so mild that they are not detected.  When symptoms become obvious, health may have been affected for some time.



List of Minerals
Calcium | See Calcium Details

Importance & Benefits of Calcium
Benefits of Calcium :: vital for strong bones, cartilage, muscle, and teeth; slows rate of bone loss linked to osteoporosis; slows loss of teeth in older people; helps prevent gingivitis in children; protects bones and teeth from lead by inhibiting its absorption; needed for muscle contraction and relaxation; vital in transmission of nerve impulses; important for blood clotting; helps regulate passage of nutrients across cell walls; needed for normal heartbeat; helps regulate blood pressure; calcium supplements have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels; there is some evidence that calcium supplements can reduce the risk of colon cancer; involved in secretion of hormones and enzymes such as lipase; may relieve symptoms linked to Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS); anecdotal evidence that calcium alleviates insomnia.


Calcium Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: osteoporosis, characterized by brittle, porous bones and frequent bone fractures; impaired bone mineralization which, in children, can cause rickets (bone softening) which may lead to bone deformities, fractures, or stunted growth; osteomalacia (bone softening) in adults; loss of bone mineralization in the jaw; tooth decay or periodontal disease; higher levels of lead in bones and teeth; brittle or misshapened nails; rheumatoid arthritis that leads to joint swelling and pain; heart palpitations or abnormal heart rhythms; risk of hypertension (high blood pressure); higher cholesterol levels; insomnia; lethargy or chronic fatigue; poor appetite; severe deficiency can cause excessive nerve activity that leads to spasmodic contractions of skeletal muscles, symptomized by tingling fingers, toes or lips, numbness in arms or legs, and muscle pain or severe muscular cramps or spasms.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Calcium are dairy foods such as buttermilk, mozzarella cheese, raw (non-pasteurized) milk, whey, yoghurt; goat's milk; fresh dark green vegetables like collard greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens, wing beans.

Other foods containing Calcium include blackstrap molasses; brewer's yeast; dried apricots, figs, prunes; dried beans; fruits like oranges and papaya; herbs such as basil, cinnamon, dill, fennel, garlic, oregano, parsley, peppermint leaves, rosemary, thyme; oats; sesame seeds and almonds; sea vegetables such as arame, dulse (a red seaweed), kelp, kombu, and wakame; seafood; soft bones of wild salmon, sardines, tuna, and anchovies are good sources of calcium that is easily absorbed by the body; tofu; vegetables like asparagus, bok choy (chinese cabbage), broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, green beans, kale, okra, romaine lettuce, swiss chard.

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Chloride | See Chloride Details

Importance & Benefits of Chloride
Benefits of Chloride :: keeps the amount of fluid within and around cells in balance; helps regulate the pH (acid-alkali / acid-base) balance of body fluids; maintains proper blood volume and pressure; critical constituent of hydrochloric acid, a key component of gastric juice secreted by the stomach that is vital for digestion and absorption of many nutrients including iron and vitamin B12; may help conserve potassium.


Chloride Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: loss of appetite; muscle weakness; lethargy; dehydration; deficiency leads to alkalosis, a condition in which body fluids have excess base (alkali), that can result in dangerously high blood pH and excessive loss of potassium in urine (which in turn causes hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis with symptoms that include loss of control of muscle function which might lead to breathing and swallowing difficulties).


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Chloride are table salt or sea salt (sodium chloride); salt substitutes such as potassium chloride; seaweed (such as dulse and kelp); olives; rye; vegetables like celery, lettuce, tomatoes; preserved meats such as bacon, ham, sausages; processed or canned or fast foods that are high in salt.

Other foods containing Chloride include cheese; vegetables; yeast extract; as potassium chloride found in most foods.

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Chromium | See Chromium Details

Importance & Benefits of Chromium
Benefits of Chromium :: needed for energy production, as it promotes action of insulin, which is involved in metabolism and storage of protein, carbohydrates and fats; pivotal in normalizing blood sugar levels, and so helps maintain stable blood sugar levels in both diabetics and hypoglycemics; involved in metabolism of nuclei acid, which are needed to build DNA, the genetic material in cells; promotes synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acids needed for brain function; may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels; helps reduce high blood pressure.


Chromium Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: insulin resistance or glucose intolerance, which affects the ability of insulin to regulate blood sugar; leads to high blood sugar levels that may result in type 2 diabetes in older people; elevated blood insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia); high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol levels, and/or high triglyceride levels; high blood pressure.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Chromium are brewer's yeast; egg yolks; molasses; onions (raw).

Other foods containing Chromium include apples, bananas, oranges and grapes; beer; brown rice; cheese; dried beans; liver; meat (beef, chicken, turkey); mushrooms; oysters; vegetables like alfalfa, broccoli, carrots, green beans, green peppers, potatoes, romaine lettuce, spinach, ripe tomatoes; wheat germ; whole grains (in the bran and germ).

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Copper | See Copper Details

Importance & Benefits of Copper
Benefits of Copper :: needed for absorption, transport, and utilization of iron; required for formation of haemoglobin and red blood cells; needed to form elastin that keeps skin flexible but tight (elastin tends to deplete with age, resulting in wrinkled skin); essential for formation of collagen, which makes up bone and connective tissue that supports other body tissues such as skin, bone, cartilage, tendons, and muscles, and is important for healing; keeps arteries flexible; helps produce melanin (skin and hair color pigment); promotes healthy immune system function; component of an antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD) that protects cells from damage by harmful free radicals, and so helps prevent cancer, Alzheimer's, and other degenerative diseases; keeps thyroid gland functioning properly, and prevents hypothyroidism; needed for a healthy nerve system and taste sensitivity.


Copper Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: among the earliest symptoms are osteoporosis, osteopenia (lower bone mineral density than normal, but not as low as for osteoporosis) and joint problems; retarded growth or abnormalities in bone development in infants and young children; anemia that is characterized by lack of improvement with iron therapy alone; loss of skin or hair color; impaired immune function that may lead to frequent infections; impaired nerve function that may lead to lower taste sensitivity and lack of physical coordination; inelastic blood vessels that rupture easily; elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels; irregular heart beat; breathing difficulties; fatigue and weakness; skin sores; hypothyroidism; Menkes disease that occurs mostly in male infants, characterized by sparse greyish or colorless twisted hair, and floppy muscle tone.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Copper are organ meats (liver, heart, kidney); dried spirulina; crimini mushrooms; shiitake mushrooms; oysters and other shellfish.

Other foods containing Copper include avocado, kiwifruit, pineapple, oranges; asparagus, Brussel sprouts, eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, radish, red bell peppers, summer squash, tomatoes; green beans, winged beans; dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens; blackstrap molasses; buckwheat, quinoa, barley, oats, millet; cocoa; dried fruit like raisins and prunes; dried beans like soybeans, adzuki beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), lentils, lima, navy beans; garlic, ginger, black pepper, peppermint; nuts like cashew nuts, hazelnuts, filberts, brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds and pecans; sesame, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds; tempeh and tofu; yeast.

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Fluoride | See Fluoride Details

Importance & Benefits of Fluoride
Benefits of Fluoride :: decreases incidence of tooth cavities, as fluoride is incorporated into teeth as they form and hardens teeth enamel, making teeth more resistant to acids and cavity-forming bacteria; builds and maintains healthy bones; strengthens bones and helps prevent bone fractures; may lower risk of osteoporosis in menopausal women.


Fluoride Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: badly formed or weak teeth or increase in tooth cavities; brittle or weak bones; fractured hips in the elderly.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Fluoride are fluoridated water; seafood.

Other foods containing Fluoride include chicken; canned sardines (with bones); fish; gelatin; grape juice; tea.

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Iodine | See Iodine Details

Importance & Benefits of Iodine
Benefits of Iodine :: essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland; necessary for synthesis of thyroid hormones and to prevent goitre; needed in cell metabolism and to convert food to energy; helps to metabolize excess fat; may help prevent fibrocystic breast disease (painful swelling of the breast); important in physical and mental development; improves mental alertness and cognitive function; prevents multiple miscarriages.


Iodine Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: goiter characterized by an enlarged thyroid gland which may cause a choking feeling or difficulty with breathing and swallowing; hypothyroidism (under-production of thyroid hormones) which can lead to brittle dry hair, hair loss, brittle nails, coarse dry pale skin, anemia, intolerance to cold, fatigue or weakness, depression, irritability, poor memory, weight gain, muscle or joint pain, constipation, decreased libido, abnormal menstrual cycles; impaired immune system; hearing loss in children; severe deficiency during pregnancy, breastfeeding or infancy can lead to neuro-cognitive defects in the baby, and problems with growth, speech and hearing; a particularly severe form of it is cretinism, characterized by brain damage or major mental retardation, speech problems, hearing loss, apathy, spasticity, and stunted growth; even mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy can hamper growth of the child's brain, and lead to low intelligence; congenital hypothyroidism is the most common cause of mental retardation in children.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Iodine are salt-water fish; seafood and shellfish; seaweed like dulse, bladderwrack, kelp, nori; iodized table salt.

Other foods containing Iodine include eggs; dairy products like cow's milk, cheese, yogurt; garlic; lima beans; mushrooms; sea salt (not high in iodine but provides other minerals as well); sesame seeds; soybeans and soy products; strawberries; some vegetables like asparagus, spinach, summer squash, swiss chard, turnip greens.

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Iron | See Iron Details

Importance & Benefits of Iron
Benefits of Iron :: most important for production of the haemoglobin in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to all parts of the body; needed for formation of myoglobin that carries oxygen to muscle tissue; role in oxygen delivery makes iron essential for energy production, as oxygen is needed for energy metabolism; component of many enzymes, including those needed for energy production; involved in production of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine; required for healthy immune system and resistance to infections; iron in the form of ferrous sulfate is the standard treatment for iron deficiency anemia; iron supplementation can help prevent anemia in pregnant women; anemia during pregnancy is linked to problems such as pre-term birth, low birth weight, and maternal mortality; essential for growth in children; iron supplementation appears to improve cognitive function in children and adolescents who were previously iron-deficient; iron may alleviate symptoms of ADD (attention deficit disorder).


Iron Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: iron-deficiency anemia, with symptoms that may include headaches, dizziness, irritability, pale skin, cold hands and feet, lack of energy, rapid heartbeat, low immune function, brittle nails, shortness of breath, sore or inflamed tongue or mouth, lack of appetite, blood in stools, restless legs syndrome; food cravings for inedible items such as ice, paint, starch, clay, or dirt; increased intestinal inflammation or irritation; depression or apathy; insomnia or disturbed sleep; decrease in ability to concentrate; impaired mental skills that can affect memory and job performance; learning disabilities and short attention spans in children; irregular menstrual periods; brittle hair; hair loss; nails that are spoon-shaped or that have ridges running lengthwise; increased the risk of lead poisoning in children.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Iron are animal liver; blackstrap molasses; beef; egg yolks; shiitake mushrooms; dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, turnip greens; green beans such as winged beans, string beans; dried beans like kidney beans, lentils; soybeans and soy products, especially tofu; rice bran and wheat bran.

Other foods containing Iron include beans like garbanzo beans (chickpeas), navy beans, lima beans, pinto beans; basil, dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme; black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric; brewer's yeast; avocados, bananas, peaches, pears; apricots, dates, figs, prunes, raisins; almonds and brazil nuts; mustard seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds; lean red meat (lamb, pork, turkey, venison, dark red meat of poultry); fish (like halibut, salmon and tuna); shellfish like clams, oysters, crab, shrimp; sea vegetables like spirulina, kelp, dulse (a red seaweed), agar; pumpkins, summer squash; beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, green peas; green leafy vegetables like broccoli, collards, dandelion greens, kale, leek, asparagus, Brussel sprouts; whole grains (such as brown rice, millet, oats, quinoa, wheat).

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Magnesium | See Magnesium Details

Importance & Benefits of Magnesium
Benefits of Magnesium :: assists the uptake of calcium and potassium; plays a major role in formation of healthy bones and teeth, together with calcium and phosphorus; magnesium taken together with calcium and potassium helps minimize bone loss and prevent osteoporosis; involved in over 300 enzyme reactions, including those for forming bone matrix and protein synthesis; vital for fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and so plays a role in energy production; can improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics and help regulate blood sugar level; regulates neuro-muscular transmission and relaxes muscles and nerves; studies suggest may help constipation-related irritable bowel syndrome by relaxing the muscles in the intestines; regulates normal heart rhythm; promotes healthy blood pressure; helps protect against heart disease; protects artery linings from stress caused by sudden blood pressure changes; supports a healthy immune system; appears to alleviate PMS (PMT) symptoms.


Magnesium Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: overactivation of nerve and muscle impulses, leading to tremors or hyperexcitability or irritability and nervousness; muscle weakness, twitching or spasm, cramp, fatigue; mental confusion, disorientation, or apathy; affects calcium metabolism, leading to low blood levels of calcium, and softening and weakening of bones; low blood levels of potassium; increased risk of stroke; elevated blood pressure; insulin resistance linked to blood sugar imbalances and type 2 diabetes; loss of appetite, headaches, nausea, vomiting; studies show migraine sufferers tend to have lower magnesium levels; depression; disturbed sleep or insomnia or sleepiness; poor memory and reduced learning ability; increased heartbeat or abnormal heart rhythms; severe deficiency can lead to muscle contractions, tingling or numbness; severe deficiency can also cause seizures, delirium and hallucinations; some studies showed children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tended to have mild magnesium deficiency; magnesium given in addition to ADHD medication appeared to decrease hyperactivity.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Magnesium are rice bran, wheat bran; peas and beans (legumes) such as black beans, black-eyed peas, green beans, green peas, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, french beans; whole grains (such as brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, wheat); whole grain products (like whole-grain cereals, buckwheat flour, rye flour); nuts (like almonds, cashews, peanuts); seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, mustard seeds; most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, especially dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, broccoli, collard greens.

Other foods containing Magnesium include apricots, figs, raisins; avocados, bananas; basil, cloves, coriander seeds, ginger root, mustard seeds, peppermint; beets, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, potatoes (baked with skin), summer squash, tomato (ripe); blackstrap molasses; brewer's yeast; dairy foods such as milk and yogurt; kelp; meat; seafood such as halibut, salmon, tuna, scallops and shrimp; soybeans and soy products like soymilk and tofu; wheat germ.

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Manganese | See Manganese Details

Importance & Benefits of Manganese
Benefits of Manganese :: needed to synthesize fatty acids and cholesterol, and metabolize carbohydrates and proteins; important for energy production; promote utilization of other key nutrients like vitamin B1 (thiamine), biotin, choline, ascorbic acid, and vitamin E; important for normal bone and cartilage growth, and to keep bones strong and healthy; needed for collagen formation in skin cells, which is required for healing of wounds; needed for glucose metabolism, which helps regulate blood sugar balance; needed to make manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), one of the key antioxidants that protects cells from free radical damage, and so helps maintain a healthy immune system; required for a healthy reproductive system; maintains healthy nerves; supports optimal functioning of the thyroid gland; essential for proper iron metabolism and so helps prevent anemia; works with the B-complex vitamins to generate overall feeling of well-being.


Manganese Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: nausea or dizziness; vomiting; skin rash; hearing loss; iron-deficiency anemia, due to manganese's role in iron utilization; high blood sugar levels (impaired glucose tolerance); blood cholesterol levels that are too low; impaired bone growth or skeletal abnormalities, especially in children; excessive bone loss and weak hair and nails; loss of hair colour; defective functioning of the reproductive system; severe deficiency in infants can cause convulsions, and even paralysis, blindness and deafness.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Manganese are dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach); avocados; pineapple; raspberries; nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts).

Other foods containing Manganese include bananas, blueberries, figs, grapes, kiwifruit, strawberries; blackstrap molasses; maple syrup; black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, garlic, peppermint, thyme, turmeric; egg yolks; beets, carrots, sweet potato; asparagus; celery; leeks; summer squash; seaweed; legumes (black beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), dried peas, green beans, pinto beans, lima beans, navy beans); soybeans and soybean products like tofu and tempeh; whole grains (oats, brown rice, rye, whole wheat, quinoa, barley, spelt).

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Molybdenum | See Molybdenum Details

Importance & Benefits of Molybdenum
Benefits of Molybdenum :: promotes normal cell function; functions as a cofactor for three essential enzymes that play a vital role in carbohydrate metabolism, utilization of iron, sulfite detoxification, and uric acid formation; works with riboflavin (vitamin B2) to incorporate iron into haemogloblin, and so supports production of red blood cells; needed for nitrogen metabolism, to enable the body to use nitrogen; used to treat sulfite sensitivity (sulfites are used in food processing, to prevent oxidation and spoilage) and has been used to alleviate asthma and allergies related to sulfite sensitivity; used to treat inborn errors of metabolism (such as Wilson's disease) where the body cannot process copper.


Molybdenum Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: increased respiratory or heart rate; night blindness; mouth and gum disorders; sexual impotence in older males; sulfite sensitivity.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Molybdenum are garbanzo beans (chickpeas); pinto beans; dried peas.

Other foods containing Molybdenum include legumes (beans, peas, lentils); brown rice; millet; cereal grains; whole grains; liver; nuts; dark green leafy vegetables.

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Phosphorus | See Phosphorus Details

Importance & Benefits of Phosphorus
Benefits of Phosphorus :: binds with calcium to form healthy bones and teeth; may benefit vitamin D resistant rickets; needed for metabolism of carbohydrates and fats to produce energy; important for production of ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate), the molecule that the body uses to carry energy; required for growth and repair of cells and tissues; needed to make cell membranes; helps the body utilize the B-complex vitamins; needed for heart muscle contraction and to regulate heartbeat; supports proper muscle and nerve function; may help alleviate multiple sclerosis; helps maintain normal acid-base (pH) balance in the body; maintains calcium balance; maintains kidney function; potassium and sodium phosphate are FDA-approved for use in preventing and treating calcium-based kidney stones in people with hypercalciuria (high urine calcium levels); FDA-approved for treating occasional constipation, and to restore bowel function after surgery.


Phosphorus Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: poor bone formation and growth; rickets (bone softening) in children; osteomalacia (bone softening) in adults; numbness and tingling in the hands and feet; difficulty walking; increased susceptibility to infection; fatigue or muscle weakness; anemia; loss of appetite and changes to weight.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Phosphorus are cheese; milk; meat; legumes (adzuki beans, chickpeas or garbanzo beans, yellow beans, lentils); whole grains (wheat, oats, millet, quinoa, brown rice, corn, rye).

Other foods containing Phosphorus include asparagus; brewer's yeast; dried fruit; eggs; fish; garlic; nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, walnuts); pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds; rice bran.

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Potassium | See Potassium Details

Importance & Benefits of Potassium
Benefits of Potassium :: especially important in the right amount for regulating nerve transmissions and muscle contractions; needed for heart function and rhythm; acts with sodium to control the body's water balance; helps regulate the body's electrolyte and acid-alkaline (pH) balance; helps the body handle sodium and so reduce the risk of high blood pressure; lowers risk of stroke and heart attack; intake of potassium-rich foods helps to maintain the body's pH (acid alkaline) balance so that less calcium needs to be mobilized from bone to do so, which preserves bone density and helps prevent osteoporosis; involved in synthesis of protein from amino acids; needed for metabolism and storage of carbohydrates; needed for normal body growth and muscle-building; potassium citrate is known to help prevent the formation of kidney stones; those who take high potassium foods are 50 to 65% less likely to develop kidney stones.


Potassium Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: confusion or irritability; fatigue due to decrease in glycogen stored; muscle weakness or twitching or spasms; breakdown of muscle fibres; leg or other muscle cramps; muscular paralysis (in cases of severe potassium deficiency coupled with excessive thyroid hormones in the blood); shortness of breath or poor lung function, and even lung paralysis in serious cases; abnormal heart rhythms; intestinal paralysis leading to constipation.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Potassium are bananas; carrot juice, orange juice, passion-fruit juice, prune juice, tomato juice, coconut water; potatoes (especially the skin); dried fruit (apricots, figs, dates, prunes, raisins).

Other foods containing Potassium include blackstrap molasses; brewer's yeast; legumes (adzuki beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans); dairy products (milk, yogurt); fennel, garlic, ginger, turmeric; fish (cod, flounder, halibut, salmon, sardines, tuna); fruits (apricots, avocados, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, durian, kiwi fruit, papaya, passion fruit, peaches, strawberries); meat and poultry; nuts; peanut butter; soybeans and soy products; sweet potatoes; vegetables (beet greens, bell pepper, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, cucumber, eggplant, kale, mustard greens, parsley, peas, spinach, tomatoes, winter squash); whole grains including brown rice; rice and wheat bran; yam.

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Selenium | See Selenium Details

Importance & Benefits of Selenium
Benefits of Selenium :: important antioxidant especially in combination with vitamin E; studies show that selenium helps reduce the risk of cancers like lung, gastrointestinal, prostate and colorectal cancer; induces repair of DNA in damaged cells, and so limits growth of cancer cells; critical component of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase that detoxifies harmful molecules, making it especially important for cancer protection; as an antioxidant, selenium protects the body and immune system from oxidative damage by harmful free radicals; one of the antioxidants that helps lower the risk of coronary artery disease; works with other antioxidants to protect against sunburn; may protect the body against toxic effects of heavy metals; regulates blood pressure; helps reduce post-operative edema (swelling) and inflammation resulting from surgery or burns; reduces edema in pregnancy-related hypertension; reduces symptoms of elevated brain pressure, such as headaches, vomiting, nausea, and seizures; alleviates asthma symptoms; critical for proper functioning of the thyroid gland and the production of thyroid hormones; boosts fertility by enhancing sperm production and movement; essential for tissue elasticity; has been used to treat skin disorders like eczema and accelerate healing of burns; strengthens the immune system; may prevent infections such as sepsis and erysipelas (a type of skin infection), and promote recovery from bronchitis and some pneumonias, due to role in immune system function; sometimes prescribed by doctors for patients with HIV/AIDS, as the disease may cause depletion of nutrients, including selenium which appears to slow progression of the virus by boosting the immune system.


Selenium Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: weaker immune system leading to susceptibility to stress and illnesses; greater incidence of cancer, especially gynaecological, gastrointestinal, esophageal, lung, and prostate cancer; rheumatoid arthritis patients tend to have low blood levels of selenium; elevated blood pressure; risk of atherosclerosis leading to heart or coronary artery disease; impaired thyroid function (a common symptom of this deficiency) leading to hypothyroidism symptomized by lethargy, fatigue, intolerance to cold, depression, constipation, weight gain, heavy menstruation, dry skin, and hair loss; loose skin; hair or skin discoloration; whitened fingernail beds; Keshan disease (heart disorder characterized by inflamed heart muscles); Kashin-Beck disease (disabling disease of bones and joints, characterized by stunted growth, bone deterioration, and deformity of joints); severe deficiency coupled with malnutrition can cause muscle breakdown characterized by pain or weakness in the muscles.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Selenium are Brazil nuts (one of the most concentrated selenium food sources); organ meat (liver, kidney); mushrooms (button, shiitake, reishi); fish (cod, flounder, halibut, herring, mackerel, salmon, smelts, red snapper, swordfish, tuna); seafood (lobster, oyster, scallops, shellfish, shrimp).

Other foods containing Selenium include blackstrap molasses; brewer's yeast; butter; cheddar, cottage, and mozzarella cheese; egg; chives, garlic, onions, horseradish; herbs (alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, fennel seed, ginseng, raspberry leaf); meat (beef, chicken, lamb, turkey); raisins; sunflower and mustard seeds; vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, radish, spinach); walnuts; wheat germ; whole grains and wholegrain products (oats, barley, brown rice, rye).

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Sodium | See Sodium Details

Importance & Benefits of Sodium
Benefits of Sodium :: essential for regulating muscle contractions and nerve transmissions; helps maintain proper balance of water and body fluids ; important for maintaining the proper blood pH; plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure and volume; needed for stomach function.


Sodium Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: dehydration; low blood sugar; heart palpitations; muscle cramps; weakness or lethargy; confusion or disorientation; slurred speech; nausea; seizures, coma, or death in extreme cases if left untreated.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Sodium are table salt or sea salt (sodium chloride); sodium salts such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrite, and sodium benzoate, that are added to food products; seasonings such as soy sauce, garlic salt, onion salt, oyster sauce, stock cubes, ketchup, worcestershire sauce; preserved meats such as bacon, ham, sausages; processed or canned or fast foods are generally high in salt, and therefore high in sodium.

Other foods containing Sodium include naturally in almost all foods, such as milk, meat, shellfish, vegetables.

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Zinc | See Zinc Details

Importance & Benefits of Zinc
Benefits of Zinc :: constituent of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) that helps fight harmful free radicals; essential for the body's immune system to work properly; promotes anti-viral activity and helps fight infections; may help slow age-related macular degeneration and loss of vision; involved in carbohydrate and protein metabolism; regulates cell division and synthesis of genetic cell DNA, and so is essential for reproduction, repair, and normal growth; needed for normal fetal development; needed for reproductive health and sperm maturation; necessary for protein synthesis and collagen formation; helps maintain healthy skin and mucous membranes, and is important for preventing and healing ulcers and sores; promotes healing of wounds; has been shown to treat or reduce severity of acne; regulates insulin activity and blood sugar balance; regulates metabolic rate and thyroid hormone production; helps reduce symptoms of sickle cell anaemia; may improve the ratio of HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol; needed for proper functioning of taste and smell senses; popularly used for cold symptoms like nasal congestion, coughing, hoarseness; protects the liver from chemical damage; may help treat herpes simplex; regulates appetite and may be helpful in cases of anorexia nervosa; may help children with beta-thalassemia to grow taller; reduces duration and severity of diarrhoea in zinc deficient or under-nourished children; helps reduce hyperactivitiy in children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder); may be effective in managing Wilson's disease; studies with Crohn's disease patients have shown some positive results.


Zinc Mineral Deficiency Symptoms
Mineral deficiency symptoms may include :: impaired sense of smell and taste; impaired immune function; susceptibility to pneumonia and other infections in malnourished children and the elderly; skin ulcers; slow wound healing; retarded growth in infants and children; delayed sexual maturation; hypogonadism in males (where the body does not produce enough testosterone hormone); impotence; reduced thryoid hormone output; lowered glucose tolerance with increased risk of diabetes; decreased metabolic rate; mental lethargy; depression; lack of appetite; unexplained weight loss; diarrhea; hair loss; skin rashes or skin lesions; eye lesions; night blindness.


Mineral Food Sources
Foods high in Zinc are liver; meat (beef, chicken, lamb, pork, venison); mushrooms; raw oysters.

Other foods containing Zinc include brewer's yeast; fortified breakfast cereals; fortified dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt); banana, durian; basil, thyme; egg yolks; fish; legumes (adzuki beans, baked beans, chickpeas, hyacinth beans, kidney beans, lima beans, green peas); maple syrup; miso; nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pine); peanut butter; seeds (mustard, pumpkin, safflower, sesame, sunflower, and watermelon seeds); sea-food (crab, lobster, shrimp); seaweed such as dulse, kelp; soy lecithin; soybeans; vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, chard, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, summer squash); wheat germ; whole grains (brown rice, millet, oats, rye, wheat); rice bran.

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References

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