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11 Important Minerals Your Body Needs and How to Eat More of Them

Learn how to find important minerals like iron, sodium and potassium in food.

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Important Minerals and What They Do

Like vitamins, minerals are essential nutrients responsible for various functions throughout the body. As a group, minerals do a lot of work to help maintain body structure and cellular function. Here's your easy reference guide to important minerals, including what they do and where to find them in food.

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Iron

Iron has many important jobs: It is vital for growth and development and allows red blood cells to oxygenate throughout the body. Iron is found in red meat, dark meat poultry, seafood, beans, nuts, dried foods and fortified cereals. Consider adding more of these foods to your meals to incorporate more iron into your diet.

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Sodium

Sodium is necessary for proper muscle function and fluid balance, however, most Americans tend to eat too much sodium that it can sometimes be harmful. The body requires 1500mg of sodium a day, and the limit set for food labels is 2300mg a day. A diet heavy in ready-to-eat meals and take-out foods can skyrocket sodium intake. Healthier sources of sodium include canned beans and other canned vegetables, as well as salted nuts, whole grain products like crackers and bread, and lean deli meats like turkey or chicken breast.

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Potassium

Yes, you can find this electrolyte in bananas (they get all the glory), but it is also found plentifully in other plant-based foods like oranges, potatoes, dried apricots, legumes as well as milk, yogurt, chicken and salmon. Your body relies on potassium for several things, including muscle function, cellular integrity and proper heart function.

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