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Different Kinds of Minerals: Macrominerals vs. Trace Minerals

Updated on October 30, 2012

Your body needs to get the right amount of minerals if you are going to be as healthy as you can possibly be. There are many different types of minerals that your body needs. However, these types can be broken down into two basic categories: macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals are minerals that your body needs in relatively large and steady doses. In contrast, trace minerals are minerals that your body only needs in small amounts. By learning about the different minerals that fall into each category, you can choose a healthy diet that provides you with the right amount of the minerals that you truly need.


Macrominerals are the minerals that your body needs a lot of in order to stay healthy. These are the macrominerals that your body needs:

·      Calcium. Calcium is one of the most important macrominerals that your body needs. It helps to keep your bones and teeth healthy and strong. Calcium also helps the body with other things ranging from muscle contraction to blood clotting. People typically get calcium from dairy products.

·      Chloride. Chloride helps the body by controlling the flow of body fluid through the body’s veins, keeping the electrolytes balances and making sure that the pH levels in your body are healthy. Although this is a macromineral, you don’t have to work hard to get enough of it because the amount contained in table salt and other common foods is enough for your body.

·      Magnesium. This mineral is important because it helps with energy levels as well as with the formation of protein. More importantly, magnesium helps the body to properly process many of these other minerals. Nuts, spinach, beans and soy are all good sources of magnesium.

·      Phosphorous. The main thing that we need phosphorus for is to have proper kidney function. However, phosphorus helps with other things in the body including strengthening the bones, regulating the heart and even possibly preventing cancer. It is found in cheese, nuts, cereals and many other foods.

·      Potassium. Potassium affects the levels of water in your muscles aiding in the proper use of your muscles as well as your nervous system. It is found in bananas, broccoli, citrus fruits and legumes.

·      Sodium. Sodium gets a bad reputation because it’s associated with salt and we all know that too much salt is bad for us. However, we do need a certain amount of it and in fact sodium is a macromineral. It helps with communication between the cells of our body and assists our 5 senses in working properly. It’s found in salt and therefore found in many processed foods.

·      Sulfur. Sulfur helps the body out with its protein synthesis which means that we need it for healthy hair and nails. Protein-rich foods like meat and eggs contain sulfur.

Trace Minerals

Trace minerals are the minerals that your body needs but it doesn’t need them in large amounts like it does with macrominerals. The trace minerals that your body needs are:

·      Cobalt. Cobalt assists your thyroid with proper functioning which helps regulate weight and hormones. You’ll find it oysters, clams, red meat and nuts.

·      Copper. That’s right; your body needs some amount of copper. For one thing, copper helps another trace element – iron – to work properly in the body. It’s also important as an antioxidant. It can be found in shellfish, nuts, honey and cocoa.

·      Fluoride. You probably know already that fluoride is something we need for our teeth. It helps prevent tooth decay. Our water has fluoride in it. Some seafood also contains this trace mineral.

·      Iodine. Iodine, a mineral that is often found in table salt, helps the body’s thyroid. It regulates hormones, controls mood and helps to keep your weight at a healthy level.

·      Iron. This is one of the most important trace minerals that your body needs. Iron helps to deliver oxygen throughout the body. It prevents anemia and keeps you energized. Iron is found in whole grains, meats and fortified foods.

·      Manganese. This mineral helps with the metabolism of the body. Manganese also serves a number of other important functions including boosting the immune system, helping out the bones, regulating the blood sugar and assisting you in proper absorption of the macromineral calcium. Manganese is found in fruits and vegetables.

·      Selenium. This important trace mineral helps with enzyme function, fighting disease after vaccination, improving fertility in men and serving as an antioxidant. Selenium is found in shellfish, red meat, eggs, garlic and grains.

·      Zinc. Zinc is important for all people because it helps to keep your immune system strong. A strong immune system will naturally fight off a variety of different illnesses and diseases. Zinc is generally found in eat and legumes but can, of course, be taken as a supplement as well.

As you can see, your body needs a diverse range of different minerals in different amounts. You need macrominerals in larger amounts and trace minerals in smaller amounts. However, everyone’s body is different. You may have a deficiency that requires you to take more of a trace mineral or you may have an abundance of certain macrominerals such as sodium. It’s best to work with your doctor or nutritionist to determine whether you need to alter your diet to get the right amount of these minerals or whether you need to take supplements.


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    riri 5 years ago

    this helps me on my homework

  • BetsyIckes profile image

    BetsyIckes 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

    I never knew anything about Macrominerals! Good job with this hub!