Minerals Important for Maintaining Heart Health

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro
  • We know how important eating a wholesome diet is for maintaining heart health, however we rarely stop to consider the precise nutrient makeup of our food. Last week we considered the 13 vitamins essential for good health, and this week we want to focus specifically on minerals.

    It's important to note that those who consistently eat a varied, wholesome diet should be able to obtain all the vitamins and minerals that are required for good health. For most of the population it is much better to get the necessary nutrients from the foods you eat, rather than relying on supplements.

    However, if you do decide to take an additional supplement, please take care to avoid the mega dose variety, which can be dangerous - check the label carefully prior to purchase, and opt for those stating 100% of the DRIs.

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    Lets take a closer look at some of the minerals we require:



    Necessary for:
    Healthy bones and teeth
    Functioning of muscles and nerves
    Blood clotting
    Regulating heartbeat


    Found in:
    Dairy, bony fish, fortified soymilk and orange juice, legumes, fortified breakfast cereals, green leafy vegetables



    Necessary for

    Effective insulin action
    Energy metabolism


    Found in:
    Yeast, meat, wholegrains, nuts, vegetables, cheese



    Necessary for:

    Healthy skin and hair
    Red blood cell formation
    Nervous/immune/ cardiovascular system function


    Found in:
    Organ meats, oysters, nuts, vegetables, coco powder



    Necessary for:

    Normal thyroid function
    Energy production
    Oxygen consumption in cells


    Found in:
    Seafood, seaweed, milk, vegetables


    Necessary for:

    Haemoglobin in red blood cells
    Component of myoglobin (muscle protein)

    Found in:

    Red meats, organ meats, poultry, eggs, wholegrains, beans, dark green vegetables
    Note: Iron from animal sources is more easily absorbed. Vitamin C helps with absorption.



    Necessary for:

    Skeletal development
    Muscle and nerve function
    DNA synthesis
    Energy production
    Enzyme activation


    Found in:
    Green vegetables, meats, fish, dairy, pulses, nuts, wholegrains



    Necessary for:

    Healthy bones
    Formation of carbohydrate and protein


    Found in:
    Green vegetables, pulses, cereal products, tea, coffee, nuts, wholegrains, bran



    Necessary for:

    Breakdown of proteins


    Found in:
    Milk, legumes, wholegrains, cereals, liver, kidney



    Necessary for:

    Bone development
    Energy release from foods


    Found in:
    Meat, poultry, fish, dried fruit, eggs, wholegrains, dairy, beans



    Necessary for:

    Nerve and muscle function
    Regulates blood pressure
    Balances fluids


    Found in:
    Fruit, green vegetables, legumes, dairy, grains



    Necessary for:
    Thyroid metabolism


    Found in:
    Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, wholegrains, garlic



    Necessary for:
    Maintains water balance throughout the body
    Transport of molecules across cell walls


    Found in:
    Processed and package foods, also butter, margarine, deli meats, cheese. Major component of table salt and baking soda

  • Note: Use moderately

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    Necessary for:
    Involved in metabolism
    Growth, immunity, and appetite
    Aids healing process


    Found in:
    Red meats, eggs, fish, wholegrains, dairy

    Note: more easily absorbed from animal sources than plant sources

    Particularly if you're in good health, it's important not to get too bogged down with your specific vitamin and mineral intake. Instead, focus on eating a diet full of colourful fruits and vegetables, plenty of wholegrains, nuts, seeds, fish, lean meats, and dairy. Generally speaking, if your diet is wholesome overall you shouldn't have any problems.

    If you require specific advice for your individual needs seek advice from a qualified dietitian.

    Related posts:

    Top 13 Vitamins: Are You Getting Enough?

    Combat High Blood Pressure with Essential Herbs and Vitamins

    Vitamin D + You: Not a Vitamin, and Not One Size Fits All

    B Vitamins and Folic Acid: Take Them, but Not for Your Heart


    Melanie Thomassian is a professional dietitian and author of the award winning Dietriffic.com.


Published On: September 05, 2008