Best Foods Rich In Minerals

How do minerals play a vital role in our health and how can we get them from a variety of foods? 

Eating these nutrients is a must for all the body's functions and to keep us energised for our daily activities. Plus, it's important to get the right amount at the right time and not go overboard to avoid any undesirable effects from having too much. So, follow some personalised tips, eat a balanced diet, and heed dietary advice to make sure you're getting all the minerals you need from your food.  


Minerals are abundantly found in foods that have a rich source of vital nutritious benefits. Most essential sources of minerals in food are calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and trace minerals like copper, zinc, fluoride, manganese, selenium, iron, iodine, and chromium.1

Why are minerals important?

Minerals are crucial for various body functions,  like oxygen transport, energy production, and fluid balance. You can get these benefits by eating healthy foods.  Since the body can’t make minerals on its own, it relies on your diet to meet its needs.2

To keep your body running smoothly, you should make sure to get enough minerals in your daily diet. They play a key role in supporting a strong immune system, which helps defend against various diseases like thyroid, heart, and bone issues.3


Calcium is a super important mineral found in foods like milk, yoghurt, cheese, and supplements. Veggies, nuts, and seeds have some calcium but not as much as dairy products.4

Why is Calcium important?

Calcium-rich foods help regulate many biological processes like muscle movement and nerve signals.  It’s crucial to get the right amount of calcium, either from your diet or supplements, as too little or too much can cause health problems.5 


Magnesium-rich foods play a role in many body functions. Food processing has reduced magnesium content, but you can still find it in foods like bananas, almonds, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, quinoa, spinach, kale and oatmeal.6

Why is Magnesium important? 

Magnesium is essential for muscle, brain and heart function. It's a catalyst for many enzymatic reactions, helps with energy production, and is involved in various biochemical processes.7

How much Magnesium do seeds and nuts have? 

Magnesium-rich content is found in Brazilian nuts (5307 mg/kg), pumpkin seeds (2539 mg/kg), sesame seeds (2223 mg/kg), and sunflower seeds (2156 mg/kg), respectively.8

Which natural grains have a high magnesium content?

Whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa are used to protect against various cancers, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. They’re loaded with nutrients and dietary fibre.9

Are green leafy vegetables high in magnesium?

Green leafy veggies are a staple in the human diet. They're not only great for managing weight but also help prevent diseases due to their magnesium content.10


Potassium is found in fruits and vegetables like bananas, oranges,  avocados, potatoes, tomatoes, rice, whole grains and legumes. A potassium-rich diet can prevent non-communicable diseases.11

Why is Potassium Important? 

Potassium can help lower blood pressure, reduce cardiovascular disease risk, and extend kidney health.  A diet rich in potassium is the key.12


Sodium is vital for our bodies. It helps regulate electrolyte balance and blood pressure. While we use sodium chloride in our kitchen, it’s crucial not to overdo it, as too much can lead to heart and blood pressure ideas. A concentration of sodium more than 2300 mg/day is not recommended, and it should be below 1000 mg /day in order to improve heart health and blood pressure13.

Why is Sodium important?

Sodium, an essential mineral, is used as a preservative and helps regulate electrolyte balance and blood pressure.  Too much sodium can strain the heart, leading to hypertension. Sodium also plays a key role in balancing blood pH.15

How can Sodium intake be managed, and what are the health risks?  

Sodium consumption should be approached in moderation, as excessive sodium intake is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure (hypertension). Reducing sodium intake has been shown to lower blood pressure in many individuals, and this effect is generally beneficial. However, the impact of sodium reduction on renal (kidney) function and lipid profiles can vary among individuals. A decrease in sodium intake can result in a modest reduction in blood pressure, and this can be particularly advantageous for children. Moreover, reducing sodium intake may contribute to a decreased risk of stroke and coronary heart disease in some people. It's important to acknowledge that while a high-sodium diet is common, it can indeed have serious health consequences. Elevated blood pressure, if left uncontrolled, is associated with various health problems and can lead to increased healthcare costs while diminishing overall quality of life.16

Where can you find sodium? 

Sodium is found in processed and table foods, as well as in items like milk, celery, bakery goods, meat, and prepared foods. Be sure to check food labels for sodium content and consult a healthcare professional before taking sodium-containing medications.17

Trace minerals

Why do we often overlook the benefits of trace minerals?  

Trace minerals offer vital nutritional benefits, similar to major minerals, and help catalyze many metabolic processes. An imbalance in trace minerals can lead to various disorders, like hemochromatosis.18


Iron is crucial and is found mainly in red blood cells. It is used to prevent iron deficiency anaemia, which can cause light-headedness and fatigue. Iron is now added to foods like cereals, condiments, and dairy products to tackle deficiency.19

What is the main role of Iron?

Iron carries oxygen and helps form haemoglobin herein. Low iron leads to anaemia, causing fatigue, lethargy, and paleness.20 

Where can you find heme Iron and non-heme Iron? 

Animal diets contain more iron availability than plant meals because of its heme compound. The Monsen model predicts that 40% of heme iron can be sourced from meat, fish and poultry.21
Foods such as lentils, spinach, rice, beans and fortified cereals are good sources of non-heme iron. Although they are widely consumed, they are not evenly rich in iron. Similarly, spinach, widely consumed green leafy vegetables, has the lowest iron.22


Iodine is an essential micronutrient used in wound healing and in the formation of thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) production.  Deficiency can lead to mental retardation and goitre. Iodized salt is a common source of iodine.23

When do we need Iodine? 

Iodine is vital for metabolism and thyroid function at all stages of life, from foetal development to pregnancy.24

Where is Iodine found?

Iodine is widespread in nature and is especially abundant in marine sources. Shrimp, seaweed, fish, dairy products, eggs, and various grains are good sources of iodine.25,26

Examples of foods with an average Iodine concentration are haddock 3250 (ug/kg), cod 1920 (ug/kg), scampi 920 (ug/kg), eggs 500 (ug/kg) × 20 eggs, cheese 375 (ug/L), yoghurt 330-670 (ug/L) increase in winter milk and cow’s milk 250-500 (ug/L).27


Zinc boosts immunity, supports wound healing thyroid function, and reduces oxidative stress. It's found in both animal and plant sources, aids in cancer prevention, acts as an antioxidant and is involved in over 300 biological functions.28

What are the health benefits of zinc?  

Zinc is crucial for enzymatic reactions and cellular functions, and it's present in bones, tissues, fluids, and organs. It's important for overall health.29

Where can you find zinc? 

Zinc is found in a variety of animal and plant sources, of which animal sources have more zinc content. Examples of animal sources include oysters, beef liver, eggs, chicken, and cheese. Plant sources include wheat germ, wheat bran, peanuts, legumes, nuts, and tea.30


Selenium is a trace mineral with antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. It should be consumed in moderation to avoid side effects like vomiting, diarrhoea, and hair loss. 

Why is Selenium important?

Selenium deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, skin pigmentation disorders, and anaemia. Adequate selenium levels (between 70 ug -106 ug/L) may help reduce the risk of cancer.31 

 Where can you find selenium? 

Selenium is found in grains, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and yeast, mainly in organic forms. Inorganic forms can be found in dietary supplements. 32


Copper is a trace mineral present in the body in small amounts. It's used as an antioxidant to support the immune system, bone health, and blood health. Copper plays a role in controlling enzymatic reactions and functions in the body.  Adults can typically take 1 to 4 mg of Copper per day. 33 

Why is Copper important? 

Copper is found in the heart, brain, muscles, and kidneys. Copper deficiency can lead to Wilson's disease. It's also important for plant physiological processes. 34

 Where can you find Copper? 

Copper is mainly absorbed by the small intestine. Major sources of Copper are from tap water while others include nuts, seeds, whole grain foods, chocolates and shellfish.35 


  • Good health can be achieved by incorporating mineral-rich foods in your daily diet
  • Try to obtain minerals from natural food sources, or you can consider adding dietary supplements.
  • Consuming foods rich in both major and trace minerals can help protect the body from various illnesses and diseases 
  • Avoid excessive consumption of mineral-rich foods to prevent mineral toxicity. 
  • Always consult healthcare providers for dietary recommendations or when consuming mineral supplements 
  • A well-balanced diet rich in minerals enhances an individual's overall well-being 
  • Mineral-rich foods can be easily incorporated into your meals by preparing a variety of healthy recipes 


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Qayyum Mumtaz

Master in healthcare management, Public Health, Riphah International University

Qayyum Mumtaz is an experienced healthcare professional with a firm background in medical writing, pharmacy, public health and pharmacovigilance. He has earned his MSc in Healthcare Management specialisation in Public Health (MS-HCM). Prior to that he has completed Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm-D) with a major in Pharmacy. He is honoured for his expertise related to patient safety, healthcare programs and pharmaceuticals in community care. He has long standing experience as a registered pharmacist (RPh) and is ambitious to contribute as a medical article writer. He also served as a pharmacovigilance focal person. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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