Mighty Minerals

How much do you need? What foods have them?

What exactly are Minerals?

Just like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions — from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses. Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.


Captain Calcium

Calcium is vital for building strong bones and teeth. The time to build strong bones is during childhood and the teen years, so it's very important to get enough calcium now to fight against bone loss later in life. Weak bones are susceptible to a condition called osteoporosis, which causes bones to break easily.

Milk and other dairy products — such as yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese — are good sources of calcium. You'll also find this mineral in broccoli and dark green, leafy vegetables. Soy foods and foods fortified with calcium, including some kinds of orange juice and soy milk, are also good sources.

Teen guys and girls need
1,300 mg (milligrams) of calcium each day.

Iron Man

Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include weakness and fatigue, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath.

Iron-rich foods include red meat, pork, fish and shellfish, poultry, lentils, beans and soy foods, green leafy vegetables, and raisins. Some flours, cereals, and grain products are also fortified with iron.

Teen guys need 11 mg of iron a day and teen girls need 15 mg. Girls need higher amounts because they lose iron through blood during menstruation.

What happens if you don’t get enough minerals and trace elements in your diet?

Potential for deficiency depends on the mineral itself — some are absolutely necessary; others, not so much.

Without enough calcium, a child’s bones and teeth don’t grow strong and straight, and an adult’s bones lose minerals and weaken.

Lacking sufficient iron, your body can’t make the hemoglobin it requires to carry energy-sustaining oxygen to every tissue. The result is a condition called anemia, which leaves you tired and weak. Mild iron deficiency may also inhibit intellectual performance.

M - Macro means "large" in Greek, and your body needs larger amounts of macrominerals
I - Iron is an example of a macromineral
N - Needed for body’s chemical reactions
E - Enzymes can’t be made without them
R - Red blood cells require iron
A - Absorbed through the stomach wall
L - Little bit goes a long way