Trace minerals – what are they and why do we need them?

By Jack Larson posted 27 days ago


In theory, we all know a thing or two about the main aspects of a healthy diet. Good fats and complex carbs are in, but sugars and simple carbohydrates need to remain out. This is, in theory, a very good rule, but eating healthy means focusing on the small details as well. 

In some cases, the details are so small that your body only needs them in little amounts. One such “detail” that does not get talked about enough are trace minerals. They are, to put it simply, compounds found in various foods around us, and your body only needs very little to be healthy.

Got you confused? Worry not, because in this article we will explain what trace minerals are and why our body needs them so badly.

What are trace minerals?

Trace minerals are a type of micronutrients that our bodies need in order to function optimally. However, your body is not able to produce trace minerals itself, so you need to get them from the food you eat. Trace minerals are responsible for a range of important body functions, including good bone development, wound healing, hormone production, and providing oxygen to the muscles. Some examples of trace minerals include copper, selenium, zinc, iron, and fluoride.

When our bodies lack the minerals they need, imbalances can happen. They can lead to issues such as chronic fatigue, cramps, muscle aches, and lack of energy.

Why do I need trace minerals?

To put it simply, you need trace minerals if you want to survive. Here are some of the most known trace minerals and what they do for your body:

  • Chromium – this mineral helps your body maintain proper blood sugar levels and ensures cells draw from it the energy they need
  • Copper – copper boosts red cell production, regulates neurotransmitters, and assists with metabolizing fuel
  • Zinc – boosts immune system, helps with wound healing, cell division, and blood clots 
  • Iron – helps in the creation of hemoglobin, activates enzymes, makes collagens, hormones, and neurotransmitters
  • Manganese – helps with bone forming, as well as metabolizing amino acids and carbohydrates
  • Potassium – helps with blood pressure, muscle contraction, as well as balancing fluids in the body

Ok, but where do I get them?

By now, you are probably already intaking most of these trace minerals through the food you eat. However, each person’s metabolism is different and requires different amounts of trace minerals daily. If you suspect you may lack one or more essential trace minerals, here is where to find them:

  • Chromium – can be found in apples, potatoes, bananas, garlic, meat, and broccoli
  • Copper – can be found in nuts, whole grains, cocoa, shellfish, and seeds
  • Zinc – can be found in dairy products, whole grains, oysters, red meat, and lobsters
  • Iron – can be found in greens with dark leaf color, poultry, meat, and fish
  • Manganese – can be found in sweet potatoes, nuts, pineapples, and seeds
  • Potassium – can be found in bananas, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and cucumbers

Most of these foods should already be part of a healthy, balanced diet, and if not, make sure to include some of these ingredients in your meals from now on.