According to eMedicineHealth.com, minerals play a variety of roles in the human body, and they are essential for good health. Scientists, nutritionists and doctors divide minerals into two different categories. Humans need macrominerals, such as sodium, chloride and potassium, in relatively large quantities, while microminerals, such as zinc and iodine, are only necessary in trace amounts.
Many minerals serve several different roles in maintaining the body. For example, eMedicineHealth.com lists calcium as being important for bone formation, muscle function, blood pressure regulation and maintaining the health of the immune system. Calcium is obtained from foods such as milk, cheese and leafy, green vegetables. Likewise, magnesium, which is found in nuts and seafood, is important for protein synthesis and nerve signal transmission.
Microminerals are just as important as macrominerals, according to eMedicineHealth.com. Zinc, for example, plays a role in the production of sperm and healing wounds. Copper, which is found in organ meats and drinking water, is necessary for metabolizing iron, which is itself a micromineral. Iron is a component of hemoglobin, which is a necessary component of the blood, as it carries oxygen.
eMedicineHealth.com explains that the body needs other trace nutrients as well. These include nickel, silicon, vanadium and cobalt.