Minerals are nutrients which regulate the body's metabolism. They are important, for example, in bone formation and for ensuring that muscles and nerves function correctly. Since the body cannot produce them itself, they must be ingested through food. Minerals are resistant to heat, light and oxygen, which means that – unlike vitamins – they are not lost during cooking. Nevertheless, you should be careful when washing or preparing vegetables as minerals can leach out through water.
Minerals at a glance
Since the body needs different quantities of the various minerals, they are subdivided into bulk elements and trace elements. A balanced diet with natural foodstuffs provides the body with an adequate supply of minerals. The eight most important minerals are calcium, chromium, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, silicon and zinc.
- Calcium is usually absorbed from dairy products or calcium-rich mineral water.
- Chromium is only required by the body in very small quantities, which can be found in wholemeal products, fruit and meat products.
- Iron is absorbed from foods of animal origin such as red meat and seafood.
- Good sources of potassium include fruit, nuts, potatoes and vegetables.
- High levels of magnesium are present in nuts, pulses, green vegetables and dark chocolate.
- As far as selenium is concerned, the key factor is where the food comes from. In Switzerland the best sources of selenium are fish, eggs and meat; Brazil nuts also contain a lot of selenium.
- The body absorbs silicon mainly from barley, oats, spinach, potatoes and peppers.
- Meat, seafood and lentils provide the body with zinc.
You can visit the Swiss Nutrition Society
website to find out more about other minerals, plus a wealth of information on the subject in general.
SWICA supports healthy nutrition
A balanced diet strengthens wellbeing and health over the long term. As a holistic healthcare organisation, SWICA focuses on the health of its customers and not on their illnesses. That's why SWICA customers enjoy prevention contributions of up to CHF 600 per year plus a wide range of health offers
relating to nutrition.