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Minerals (along with vitamins) are required for a wide variety of functions in the body. They are used for fluid balance, the formation of bones and teeth, involved in nerve function and allow us to unlock the energy in our food amongst other things. An example of their extensive use is Magnesium, which is used for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.  Getting a range of minerals through your diet on a daily basis is important for health and optimum function. Minerals come from the soil into plants, therefore, the quality of the soil and how an item has been farmed will affect the mineral density of a food. In general, the richest sources of minerals are fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts, and seeds.

Certain minerals are needed in a larger quantity than others such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. Others are required in lesser quantity but are no less important; these are called trace minerals such as iron, zinc, iodine, fluoride, selenium, and copper.

Below are the richest sources of each of the mineral:

Calcium                                 

Watercress, kale, low-fat mozzarella, low-fat cheddar, yogurt, pak choi, tofu, broccoli, sugar snap peas, almonds, tinned sardines in oil with bones, tinned pink salmon.

Potassium   

Dried apricot, salmon, mackerel, tuna, monkfish, white beans, lentils, kidney beans, avocado, potatoes, butternut squash, spinach, low fat yogurt, mushrooms, bananas.

Magnesium   

Kelp, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, peanuts, millet, pecans, rye, walnuts, tofu, coconut meat, soya beans, brown rice, figs, apricots, dates, collard greens, prawns, corn, avocado, leafy green veg.

Phosphorus                           

Tuna, salmon, mackerel, haddock, pork chops, tofu, tempeh, soybeans, milk, low-fat yogurt, chicken, turkey, scallops, shrimp, lentils, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, beef, quinoa.

Zinc   

Spinach, beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, pork, chicken, chickpeas, baked beans, mushrooms.

Iron        

Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chicken liver, oysters, mussels, clams, cashews, pine nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, beef, lamb, lentils, white beans, soybeans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lima beans, oatmeal, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, dark chocolate.

For more information on minerals and intolerance testing, please log on to www.testyourintolerance.com