Minerals make up an important part of a child daily nutrition. These inorganic substances are essential for the formation of teeth, bones, tissues and help with keeping the nerve functions and enzyme systems working normally.
Although there are many supplements that we can give to our children, our body most efficiently absorbs minerals when they come from food. A varied diet it therefore essential to fulfil our body needs. So here are the main minerals, where to find them naturally occurring in food and what they help with.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our bodies. It plays a vital role in the maintenance and development of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps with the transmission of information through the nervous system and the control of muscle contracting.
It can be easily found in: milk, cheese and other dairy products but also in green leafy vegetables, fortified bread and cereals and tinned salmon.
Phosphorus, together with calcium, helps with the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.
It can be found in read meat, dairy products, fish, rice and oats.
Magnesium is present in all human tissues and bones. It is essential for the activation of many enzymes, it's also needed for nerve and muscle functions and is also involved in bone metabolism.
It can be found in: green leafy vegetables, nuts, bread, fish, meat and dairy products.
Sodium is a component of common salt and it is responsible for regulating the water body content and electrolyte balance.
Most food contain small amount of sodium but it is also often added during the processing, preparation, preservation and serving of food. Salt intake it's generally higher than the needed value and we should actually try and keep it lower by paying attention to what we eat and chose products with a low added salt value.
Potassium is essential for the normal functioning of cells and nervous system, it also helps with water and electrolyte balance.
It can be found in: fruit (especially bananas) vegetables, meat, fish, seeds, nuts.
Iron is essential for the formation of haemoglobin in red blood cells. It also plays a vital function when it comes to the immune system.
It can be found in: red meat (especially liver), pulses, nuts, eggs, dried fruits, dark leafy greens and fortified bread and cereals.
Zinc is a catalyst to a wide range of metabolic reactions, cells division, growth and tissue repair and functioning of the immune system.
It can be found in: meat, milk, cheese, shellfish, nuts and pulses.
It is part of the the thyroid hormones and it is essential for the regulation of metabolism rate and mental development.
It can be found: seafood
Fluoride keeps teeth and bones strong and healthy and it is essential to prevent cavities. Which is why, it is now often added to toothpaste.
Fluoride is mostly found in fortified toothpastes and fluoridated water and fish.
Copper helps with the production of red and white cells and it helps the body to use the iron efficently.
It can be found in: shellfish, liver, kidney, nuts.
Selenium protects the body from oxidative damage and it is necessary for the immune and reproductive system to function normally.
It can be found in: Brasil nuts, bread, meat, fish and eggs.
Manganese is essential for the formation of bones.
It can be found in: vegetables, cereals and nuts.