Minerals are needed by the body in small amounts and are widely distributed in many foods. The most important minerals are calcium, phosphorus and iron.
Calcium is needed particularly by children and expectant mothers for the development and maintenance of the teeth and bones. Calcium is also necessary to ensure normal clotting of the blood and the normal functioning of the muscles. Foods richest in calcium are milk, cheese, sardines and herrings.
Phosphorus is needed along with calcium for the development of the bones and teeth. It also plays a part in the process by which the body obtains energy from food. Phosphorus is found in many foods including cheese, oatmeal, liver and eggs, and is rarely deficient in a normal diet.
Iron is needed to form the red-coloured haemoglobin in the blood. If the body is deficient in iron, anaemia can occur.
Foods richest in iron are liver, beef, wholemeal bread and eggs.
Other less important but nevertheless necessary minerals needed by the body are sodium, found in salt, potassium, found in most foods but particularly in beef and fish, magnesium and sulphur, found in most foods, and iodine, found in salt water fish and sea salt.