- NUTRITIONAL WELLNESS
- KNOW YOUR SERVING
- BODY SMART
- MEAL PLANNING
- TIPS & TRICKS
- UNDERSTANDING FOOD LABELS
Whether we are considering metabolism, human growth, blood formation, or the function of nerves and muscles – none of these could function without minerals. For example, sodium and potassium regulate our body’s fluid balance. Calcium provides for strong bones and teeth. Iron is important in blood formation and iodine maintains the function of the thyroid gland.
A balanced diet covers the need for minerals
It is important that we are kept supplied with sufficient quantities of all essential minerals, as it is not possible for one mineral to take the place of another. If you eat a balanced, varied diet as described in the Nutrition Pyramid, this should present no problem.
The following table will give you information about the reasons we need minerals and which foods contain them.
|Calcium||Building bones and teeth, blood clotting, nervous system function||Milk, yogurt, cheese, green vegetables, calcium-rich mineral water|
|Phosphorus||Building bones, metabolism||Milk, cheese, meat, sausage, fish|
|Sodium||Fluid balance, nerve and muscle function||Table salt, sausage, cheese, bread, pizza|
|Potassium||Fluid balance, transmission of nerve and muscle signals||Potatoes, vegetables, bananas, dried fruit, pulses|
|Magnesium||Building bones, energy metabolism, enzymes, nerve and muscle function||Whole-grain cereal products, milk and milk products, green vegetables, berries, oranges, bananas|
|Iron||Blood formation, oxygen transport in the blood||Meat, egg yolk, sausage, whole-grain cereal products, oat flakes, millet|
|Iodine||Synthesis of thyroid hormones||Ocean fish, sea food, foods prepared with iodized salt|
|Fluorine||Resistance of teeth to cavities, for hardening tooth enamel||Fish, cereals, walnuts, black tea, mineral water|
|Selenium||Cellular protection||Liver, fish, meat, nuts, legumes, cereals|
|Zinc||The body’s defences, wound healing||Meat, shellfish, cheese|
Source: Nestlé Brochures “Gesund genießen”, “Kalorien mundgerecht” [Healthy eating???, “Bite-sized calories???] (Umschau/Braus, 2003)
Our need for minerals varies with age, gender, and activity level, state of health and life stage. Even climate and the environment have an impact: in the high mountains, for example, the body makes more red blood cells and for this reason, needs an extra boost of iron. This is primarily found in meat and whole-grain cereals. But you should know: to make good use of the iron in plant-based foods, our body needs Vitamin C. The combination of cereal and fruit is ideal for this purpose. Many of us consume too little iodine. So here is a tip: once or twice a week, you should eat ocean fish, and you should select prepared foods made with iodized salt, such as bread, cheese and sausage. Always use iodised table salt for your own cooking and baking.
Greater amounts of minerals through gentle food preparation
There are a host of minerals contained in our foods – and of course, many other valuable nutrients. Gentle preparation is recommended to make sure that these ingredients actually reach their destination. To accomplish this, you should thoroughly but only briefly wash fruit, vegetables and salad ingredients, and only cut them after washing. Another tip: keep the cooking time short and use the cooking water along with the minerals dissolved in it to prepare tasty sauces or soups.