Minerals are involved in every single bodily process and the human body cannot produce them on its own. Minerals activate enzymes, maintain the correct ratio of bodily fluids, assist in the formation of blood and bones and support healthy nerve function. Every health ailment can be traced to a mineral deficiency, according to Nobel Prize winner Dr. Linus Pauling.
"Minerals are incredibly important for health and to prevent chronic disease. Without them the body would suffer from osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), high blood pressure and low energy, just to name a few," says Karen Ansel, registered dietitian in New York. According to Ansel, the top five essential minerals are iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and calcium. Iron helps the blood carry oxygen throughout the body and prevents lethargy and is found in foods like beef, chicken and oysters. Potassium regulates blood pressure and is found mainly in fruits and vegetables like bananas, pomegranates and potatoes. Magnesium also regulates blood pressure, while keeping bones dense and preventing insulin resistance. Good sources of magnesium include bran cereals, almonds, rice and molasses. Zinc plays a critical role in keeping the immune system strong and preventing infection and is found foods like in beef, pork, crab and oysters. Calcium is essential for bone health and can be found in foods like milk and other dairy products, spinach and beans.