A nutritionist explains which trace elements are especially important for the body

Elena KozlovaLS Food
Foods containing iodine are essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones
Foods containing iodine are essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones

Trace elements, such as iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, fluorine and magnesium, are particularly important for the body. They are involved in various biochemical processes, including hormone synthesis and blood pressure regulation.

According to nutritionist Tatyana Rodriguez Zanin, each of them performs its own specific function. The main sources include vegetables, fruits, meat, whole grains, and dairy products, according to

A nutritionist explains which trace elements are especially important for the body


Calcium is the most abundant trace element in the body, found mainly in bones and teeth. In addition to forming and maintaining the skeleton, it is also involved in muscle contraction, the production of hormones and neurotransmitters, blood clotting, and the formation of immune cells.

Its deficiency can cause rickets and osteomalacia, which occur due to insufficient bone mineralization. In addition, mostly in the elderly, calcium deficiency causes osteoporosis and also increases the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Sources of calcium: milk, cheeses, yogurt, spinach, almonds, tofu, beans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, sardines, beets, peanuts, prunes, and broccoli.


The main function of iron in the body is to participate in the transportation of oxygen through the blood to organs and tissues. In addition, it plays an important role in inhibiting the formation of free radicals that contribute to aging and cardiovascular disease.

Its deficiency leads to anemia – a decrease in the level of hemoglobin in the blood, causing apathy, constant fatigue, heart palpitations, headaches, dizziness, and irritability.

Sources of iron: meat, liver, egg yolk, shellfish, oysters, pumpkin seeds, tofu, raisins, walnuts, pistachios, beans, and beets.


Magnesium is essential for muscle contraction and relaxation, vitamin D and hormone production, transportation of potassium and calcium ions, and blood pressure maintenance. When this trace element are deficient, there is an increase in muscle excitability, cardiac arrhythmia, and tetany (cramps).

Sources of magnesium: seeds, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, tofu, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pistachios, chard, artichoke, spinach, avocado, milk and its derivatives, and whole grain products.


Phosphorus is found in bones and teeth in combination with calcium, but it also participates in the regulation of blood pH and the provision of energy to the body, being part of the cell membrane and DNA.

Its deficiency in the diet is rare, but it can be caused by chronic use of antacids with aluminum, glucocorticoids, high amounts of magnesium, and the presence of hypoparathyroidism. Symptoms include anorexia, immune system suppression, muscle weakness, paresthesia, and ataxia.

Sources of phosphorus: sunflower seeds, tofu, canned tuna, meat, milk and its derivatives, sardines, black beans, eggs, broccoli, peas, artichoke, and corn flour.


Potassium is essential for the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction, blood pressure control, and the production of energy, proteins, and glycogen.

Its deficiency is mainly associated with vomiting, diarrhea, diuretic use, severe malnutrition, surgery, or the use of certain antihypertensive drugs, causing symptoms such as cardiac arrhythmia, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, and glucose intolerance.

Sources of potassium: yogurt, pistachios, prunes, seafood, almonds, chard, banana, tomato juice, pumpkin seeds, tomato paste, sardines, peanuts, artichokes, papaya, and lentils.


Sodium helps to control blood pressure, regulate body fluid levels and blood pH, and is involved in the transport of active substances across the cell membrane, the transmission of nerve impulses, and muscle contraction.

Because it is found in many foods, sodium deficiency is rare and can occur in athletes who perform strenuous exercise and sweat profusely.

Sources of sodium: Most foods naturally contain sodium, but the main sources are salt, meat, fish, cheeses, algae, and eggs.


Chlorine is an important mineral that, in combination with sodium or potassium, maintains the osmotic pressure of cells and the pH of the blood. In addition, it plays an important role in digestion, as it is necessary for the formation of hydrochloric acid, which is secreted in gastric juice, maintaining the acidity of the stomach and activating enzymes in the digestive process.

Its deficiency does not occur under normal circumstances, but a decrease in the amount can occur with diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sweating.

Sources of chlorine: salt, seaweed, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, olives, legumes, salty foods, and water.


The function of iodine is to synthesize thyroid hormones and control metabolic processes in the body. In addition, it prevents diseases such as cancer, diabetes, infertility, and hypertension. Its deficiency can cause goiter, cretinism, and hypothyroidism.

Sources of iodine: iodized salt, mackerel, tuna, eggs, mussels, cod, milk, shrimp, trout, beer, cheese, tuna, flounder, and salmon.


Zinc stimulates the growth and development of children, strengthens the immune system, affects neural activity and memory, supports the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, and prevents diabetes by improving insulin action. In addition, it is involved in the formation of proteins and enzymes in the body.

Its deficiency can cause anorexia, behavioral changes, glucose intolerance, hypogonadism, immune dysfunction, hypogeusia, as well as growth and puberty retardation.

Sources of zinc: oysters, shrimp, meat, fish, peanuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, and walnuts.


Selenium has antioxidant properties, helps to remove heavy metals from the body, improves thyroid function, promotes weight loss, and prevents cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Sources: Brazil nuts, wheat flour, bread, and egg yolk.


The main function of fluoride in the body is to prevent tooth decay and tooth loss. This trace element is added to drinking water and toothpastes. It can also be applied topically by the dentist in the form of concentrated fluoride, providing a stronger effect for strengthening teeth.

Sources: fish and seafood, tea, potatoes, cereals, spinach, and other vegetables.

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