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The Major Minerals

Basic Nutrition


Updated May 15, 2014

The major minerals are the six dietary minerals your body needs in the largest amounts. They're necessary for many processes in your body, especially fluid balance, maintenance of bones and teeth, muscle contractions, and nervous system function. 


Probably best known for preventing osteoporosis, calcium is necessary for much more than strong bones and teeth. Calcium is found in dairy products and dark green vegetables. Learn more about calcium.


Chloride is a major mineral that your body needs to make digestive juices and to keep body fluids balanced. Chloride is found in salt and many vegetables, including celery and tomatoes. Learn more about chloride.


Magnesium is important for many biochemical functions. It's found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes and dark green vegetables. A magnesium deficiency can cause fatigue and other problems. Learn more about magnesium.


Phosphorus is important for bone growth, energy production (along with B vitamins) and normal cell membranes. Foods that are high in protein such as meats, nuts, seeds and legumes are also high in phosphorus. Learn more about phosphorous.


Potassium is important for nervous system function, muscle contraction and fluid balance in the body. Potassium is found in fruits and vegetables. Learn more about potassium.


Your body needs sodium to maintain fluid balance and blood pressure. Sodium is found in many foods, but the best known source is salt. Learn more about sodium.
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