Trace minerals refer to nutrients needed by the body in a small amount to achieve optimal health. Also known as micronutrients, trace minerals include iodine, zinc, chromium and iron. To fortify organs and improve bodily functions, the body processes these nutrients. They are also utilized for enzyme and hormone production. Insufficient levels of micronutrients could lead to chronic diseases. There are hundreds of micronutrients needed by the body but below are 9 of the most essential of all trace minerals:
Iron is a component of hemoglobin in the blood. It helps in the production of red blood cells, the carriers of oxygen in the body. Without iron, the body is unable nourish itself of oxygen. In addition, iron allows the storage of oxygen in the muscle cells. It’s an essential part of growth and development. This nutrient strengthens the immune system and aids in the synthesis of DNA. Offal, poultry, soybean flour and spinach are all rich in iron.
This micronutrient is needed for the formation of triiodothyronine and thyroxine. The thyroid generates these hormones. Iodine deficiency leads to the enlargement of the thyroid gland. This condition is called goiter. Iodine deficiency could also cause brain damage in fetus and newborn babies. Increase your consumption of milk, egg, seafood, and iodized salt to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Fluoride is a popular additive to oral products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. This nutrient promotes stronger, denser bones and reduces tooth decay. It also protects from bone loss and brittle teeth enamel. The main source of fluoride is fluoridated water, but it’s also present in coffee and tea.
Copper works like an antioxidant. It protects from cell damage and oxidative stress. This nutrient also helps convert carbohydrates to energy and protein to fat. Copper is also an important nutrient in the formation of connective tissues, bones, and red blood cells. Chocolates, organ meat, and whole grain cereals are packed with copper.
Zinc strengthens the immune system and aids in the formation of enzymes. It also improves blood circulation, keeps the skin healthy and aids in proper growth and development. Foods rich in zinc include red meat, seafood, eggs and whole grains.
Chromium promotes normal functioning of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose level. This nutrient helps in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy as well as improves organ functions. You can get chromium from processed meats, whole grains, cheese, and nuts.
Selenium works like an antioxidant. Together with vitamin E, selenium protects from cell damage, keeps the skin healthy and improves thyroid functions. Consuming foods rich in selenium also cuts the risk of certain cancers. Selenium-rich foods include seafood, fortified eggs, nuts, red meat and cereal.
Just like selenium, manganese also works like an antioxidant. It improves cell function, helps in the formation of enzymes and accelerates healing. It also boosts collagen production and protects from oxidative stress. Manganese-rich foods include pineapples, nuts and whole grains.
Molybdenum aids in normal cell functions, helps in the production of certain enzymes and promotes faster healing. Legumes, whole grains, milk, and nuts are loaded with this micronutrient.