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What are trace minerals?

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Quick Answer

Trace minerals are minerals that your body needs only a small amount of to sustain health. Examples of trace minerals include copper, manganese, zinc and iron.

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Full Answer

Copper is a trace mineral that your body needs to carry out a number of enzymatic reactions. The recommended daily allowance, which is the amount most people should strive to consume, is only 0.900 milligrams of copper per day. Copper is found in mushrooms, leafy greens, nuts and grains.

Manganese, another trace mineral, is also a cofactor in enzymatic reactions. The RDA for manganese is 2.3 milligrams per day, and it can be found in soybeans, raspberries, garlic and squash. Zinc, which is required for various enzymatic reactions in the liver, is found in liver, dried beans, red meat, grains and fruits, and the RDA is 11 milligrams per day. Iron, which is required for healthy red blood cells, is found in meats and leafy greens. The RDA for iron is 18 milligrams per day.

Minerals that the body needs in larger amounts are known as macrominerals. Well-known macrominerals include calcium, which is essential for healthy muscles and bones, and sodium and potassium, which are essential for regulating blood pressure and fluid balance throughout the body.

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