Minerals are the substances that people need to ensure the health and correct working of their soft tissues, fluids and their skeleton. Examples of minerals include calcium, iron, iodine, fluorine, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, and sodium. Table 2.2 outlines the functions of some of these important minerals and examples of sources of food for each of these.
Table 2.2 Functions and sources of common minerals.
|Calcium||Gives bones and teeth rigidity and strength|
Milk, cheese and dairy products
Foods fortified with calcium, e.g. flour, cereals. eggs, fish cabbage
|Iron||Formation of haemoglobin|
Meat and meat products
Eggs, bread, green leafy vegetables, pulses, fruits
|Iodine||For normal metabolism of cells|
Iodised salt, sea vegetables, yogurt, cow's milk, eggs, and cheese
Fish; plants grown in iodine-rich soil
|Zinc||For children to grow and develop normally; for wound healing||Maize, fish, breastmilk, meat, beans|
|Fluorine||Helps to keep teeth strong||Water|
What are the main sources of micronutrients and why are they important as part of a healthy diet?
Fruits and vegetables are the main sources of micronutrients. Animal foods also have micronutrients. The vitamins and minerals that make up micronutrients have a crucial role in enabling the body to function properly. Your role as a Health Extension Practitioner is to advise people in your community to have a balanced diet that includes micronutrients.
You will learn more about micronutrients in Study Session 7, in particular the impact of deficiencies in vitamin A, iron and iodine on individuals and communities.