The foods you eat provide your body with micronutrients and macronutrients. Macronutrients -- such as fats, carbohydrates and proteins -- make up the bulk of your diet, while micronutrients -- including minerals and vitamins -- are consumed in smaller quantities. Your body needs essential minerals for good health, as they aid your body in the maintenance and function of cells and tissues. As a result, consuming mineral-rich foods can help prevent mineral deficiencies and support good health.
Calcium -- the mineral present most abundantly in your body -- represents an essential part of a healthy diet. In your body, calcium helps transmit nerve impulses, aids in cellular signaling and forms a component of your bones and teeth. The mineral is present in a number of foods, including milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. In addition, some plant sources, such as kale, broccoli, beans, spinach and rhubarb also provide healthy sources of calcium.
Your body also requires magnesium from your diet. This mineral also contributes to your teeth and bones, promotes energy production within your cells and regulates the levels of other essential nutrients within your body. A number of foods -- including tofu, nuts, green leafy vegetables, whole-grain foods and pumpkin -- provide a rich source of magnesium to help keep you healthy.
Potassium in your body helps regulate your blood pressure, aids in the activation of enzymes within your cells and plays an important role in nerve cell conduction. As a result, potassium deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, cramps and abdominal pain. To avoid these symptoms, eat potassium-rich foods, such as bananas, baked potatoes with the skin on, raisins, prunes and prune juice.
Your body also needs iron for good health. Iron forms an essential part of functional proteins within your body, such as hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Dietary iron comes in two main forms: heme iron, which proves easily absorbed and used in your body; and nonheme iron, which is not as easily accessed and used. Foods containing heme iron include red meat, fish and poultry, while raisins, potatoes, lentils and prunes provide rich sources of nonheme iron.
- Baked Potato image by Jaimie Duplass from Fotolia.com
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