Often the most frightening symptoms are traced to an imbalance of little-known minerals. Let us find out more about the crucial minerals for our body.

Together, minerals make up a mere four percent of our body, but their role in its effective functioning is crucial. Experts define essential minerals as ‘keystones to our health’. It’s a fitting label considering they help carry out crucial functions, and a deficiency leads to worrying symptoms. A poor diet is often the key reason for mineral deficiency. Most of us are found deficient in iron, iodine and calcium.

The right diet plays a key role since the body doesn’t produce minerals naturally, which means we must rely on what we eat to acquire them in the right quantity. A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, and seven hours of sleep is a must if your body is to be replenished adequately.

Here is a quick guide to those 11 crucial minerals and sources to acquire them:

Function: Builds and maintains strong bones and teeth, helps with muscle function, controls cell function, communication and signalling.

Low-level effect: Low levels make you prone to osteoporosis and easy fracture. More of it leads to uneasiness, high blood pressure, kidney and gallbladder stone.

Sources: Almonds, figs, carrots, raisins, brown rice, garlic, dates, spinach, sesame, cashew, papaya, celery

Recommended daily allowance: 1,000 mg/day (women), 1,200 mg/day (men)

Function: Essential for nerve function, muscle contraction, maintaining blood pressure and a healthy balance of water in blood and body tissues.

Low-level effect: Deficiency can cause anxiety, fatigue and decreased heart rate. Excess of potassium causes hypertension.

Sources: Oranges, bananas, peanuts, beans, coconut water, spinach

Recommended dietary allowance: 2,000 mg/day (men and women)

Function: Helps in sperm formation, protects cells from damage and regulates thyroid function. Cuts risk of prostate, lung and colorectal cancer.

Low-level effect: A deficiency can cause muscle weakness, cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and immune dysfunction.

Sources: Organ meats, tuna, crabs, grains, spices.

Recommended dietary allowance: 70 mcg (men), 55 mcg (women)

Function: Helps regulate water in blood and tissue.

Low-level effect: Low levels lead to fatigue, a feeling of indifference, mental confusion, nausea and muscle cramps.

Sources: Table salt, lime juice and dairy products

Recommended dietary allowance: 1,500 mg (men), 1,300 mg (women)

Function: Boosts immunity (especially against lower respiratory tract infection, cold and cough), reproduction and the nervous system. Useful in blood clotting.

Low-level effect: Deficiency leads to dermatitis, abnormal pregnancy and poor eyesight, abnormal sense of taste and smell.

Sources: Red meat, almonds, peanuts, chickpeas, soy foods, dairy products, mushrooms, liver and sunflower seeds.

Recommended dietary allowance: 15 mg (men), 12 mg (women)

Function: Aids in the nervous system, muscle function, balance of water in blood and body tissues.

Low-level effect: Abnormal levels can weaken muscles, cause irregular heartbeat and disturb kidney function.

Sources: Broccoli, potatoes (with skin on), orange juice, green leafy vegetables, bananas, tomatoes

Recommended daily allowance: 2,300 mg (women), 2,000 mg (men)

Function: Aids in the metabolism of iron, red blood cell formation and blood circulation. Helps in production of energy for cells.

Low-level effect: Low levels lead to blood circulation problem.

Sources: Mutton (goat liver), lobster, cashew, sunflower seeds, wheat bran, whole grain products

Recommended daily allowance: 2 to 6 mg (men and women)

Function: Prevents dental cavities.

Low-level effect: Deficiency leads to yellow teeth and cavities.

Sources: Fluorinated water, teas, fish, and fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash

Recommended daily allowance: 4 mg/day (women), 3 mg/day (men)

Function: Works to make thyroid hormones.

Low-level effect: Deficiency leads to goitre.

Sources: Iodised salt, seafood and seaweed.

Recommended daily allowance: 150 mcg/day (women), 1,100 microgram/day (men)

Function: To transport oxygen across the body via Red Blood Cells (RBC)

Low-level effect: Low levels can lead to anaemia, weakness, change in colour of nails, depression, and inattentiveness. Note: excess iron gets deposited in the heart, causing cardiac trouble.

Sources: Green leafy vegetables, red meat, eggs, poultry and soya food

Recommended daily allowance: 10-12 mg/day (men and women)

Function: Helps muscle and nerves function, steadies heart rhythm, maintains bone strength

Low-level effect: Low levels cause high blood pressure and heart problem.

Sources: Chicken, mushroom, spinach, whole grain products, green leafy vegetables, almonds, black-eyed peas, avocado, banana, kiwi fruit and shrimp

Recommended daily allowance: 10-12 mg/day (men and women)


Note: The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) mentioned above is meant for adults between the ages of 19 to 50. Special cases
(pregnant women, diabetics, and hypertension and cardiac patients) should consult their doctors.