The term ‘ minerals ‘ refers to elements in their simple inorganic form. In nutrition they are commonly referred to as mineral elements or inorganic nutrients.
Minerals are vital to health. Like vitamins and amino acids, minerals are essential for regulating and building the trillions of living cells which make up the body. Body cells receive the essential food elements through the blood stream. They must, therefore, be properly nourished with an adequate supply of all the essential minerals for the efficient functioning of the body.
Minerals help maintain the volume of water necessary to life processes in the body. They help draw chemical substances into and out of the cells and they keep the blood and tissue fluid from becoming either too acidic or too alkaline. The importance of minerals, like vitamins, is illustrated by the fact that there are over 50,000 enzymes in the body which direct growth and energy and each enzyme has minerals and vitamins associated with it.
Each of the essential food minerals does a specific job in the body and some of them do extra work, in teams, to keep body cells healthy. The mineral elements which are needed by the body in substantial amounts are calcium, phosphorous, iron, sulphur, magnesium, sodium, potassium and chlorine. In addition the body needs minute (trace) amounts of iodine, copper, cobalt, manganese, zinc, selenium, silicon, fluorine and some others.