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The 5 main essential minerals

Updated: May 17, 2023

You probably already know it, you need to eat. That is for sure. If you have read the previous articles on this blog you also know that you need to provide your body with protein, fat and carbs but not only.

In order to function at its best you also need to feed your body with essential minerals. By essential understand minerals that your body does not produce and that you have to find in food.

It might sounds a bit confusing but don't worry, we got you covered, here are the 5 main essential minerals you need to get.


Iron is the most abundant mineral in your body. It is also a major component of hemoglobin, red blood cells that carry oxygen through your body.

The most common sources of iron are liver (to avoid during pregnancy), red meat, beans, nuts, dried fruits and soy ben flour.

Following NHS guidelines the amount of iron needed is 8.7mg/day for men over 18 and women over 50.

If you are a woman under 50 years old you will need to increase your intake and get almost twice a man needs, so14.8mg/day.

A lack of iron can lead to deficiency called anaemia and if your ever get too much of it (above 20mg/day) you might suffer from constipation or stomach pain.

red fruits pomegranate apple


Calcium plays an important role in keeping your bones end teeth healthy. It also helps to manage your muscles contractions including your heart beats and make sure blood clots normally.

You can find the calcium you need in milk and dairy food. But also in green leafy vegetables and fishes where you eat the bones.

In terms of needs, adults have to provide their body with 700ml of calcium per day.

A lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis or osteomalacia.

glass of milk yellow background
Glass of milk


Zinc has a massive impact on skin health, immune function and cell growth. It also participate to immune function, enzymatic reactions and protein and DNA synthesis.

It is the second most adundant mineral in your body (after iron) and it is present in every cell.

Zinc is also needed for your senses of taste an smell.

Deficiency is very rare but might appears in people who breastfeed or have alcoholic addictions.

You can find zinc into shellfish, meat and poultry but also legumes, nuts and seeds and dairy products.

Adult males should get about 11mg of zinc per day adult females 8mg/day.


Magnesium is very important for your brain and body functions. Also present in every cell, about 60% of the magnesium you have in your body is contained in your bones.

This mineral is involved in lots of actions through your body such as energy production, muscle movement or protein formation but not only.

It also boosts exercise performances, help maintaining blood sugar levels and promote bones health.

You can find magnesium in pumpkin seeds, nuts (like almonds and cashews), or spinach, brown rice and salmon.

Men need 300mg of magnesium/day and women slightly less with 270mg/day.

However, too much magnesium can potentially leads to diarrhoea.

nuts in a bowl wooden table
Brazilian nuts


Potassium is an electrolytes that conducts electrical impulses through your body.

It is involved in managing water and pH balances, but also in maintaining a good blood pressure and controling heart rythm.

You can get potassium in fruits (apricots, bananas, kiwi), in leafy vegetables, nuts and lean meats.

Kidney diseases can lead to potassium overdose as excess of potassium is usually removed through urine.

Too much potassium can cause arrhythmia but lack of it can also be a problem. If you exercise too much you might experience a deficiency in potassium.

Adults need 3500mg of potassium/day.

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