We all know some of the obvious benefits of eating fruit, especially whole fruits. They are a great source of water, soluble fibre, and are full of vitamins like A and C. We often forget that you can also get quite a few essential minerals from fruits. Major minerals are those that we need in fairly large quantities.
Essential Minerals Found In Fruit
- Potassium is vital for nerve transmission and muscle contraction. Most everyone thinks of bananas for potassium, but did you know you can also find a good supply of potassium in oranges, papaya, honeydew melon, and pears?
- Magnesium plays a role in heart function and blood pressure regulation. Avocados and bananas are good sources.
- Calcium builds strong bones and teeth, but it is also essential for blood pressure regulation. Tangerines, rhubarb, kiwis, and dried figs are good sources of calcium.
- Phosphorus is the other major building block of bone and tooth structure and also plays a critical role in energy metabolism. It is found in many dried fruits, including apricots, raisins, bananas and figs.
Fun Fact: Both phosphorus and calcium account for over 1.2% of our total body mass each!
Sodium and chloride are the other major minerals, and processed foods provide more than enough of these.
Sometimes too much. The water and fiber in whole fruits can help balance out any excess sodium and chloride we may be getting from other sources. Trace minerals are also essential for health.
- Iron is a building block for enzymes used in cellular metabolism.Dried fruits like raisins can be good sources of iron, and vitamin C from citrus fruits can aid in iron absorption from other foods.
- Zinc stabilizes cell membranes and supports the work of various hormones including thyroid and insulin. Blackberries, raspberries, and dried peaches are rich in zinc.
- Copper helps to make enzymes for oxygen reactions. Kiwi, avocado and dates are good fruit sources.
- Manganese is a co-factor in the metabolism of macronutrients. Pineapple, grapefruit and pomegranate are some of the fruits which contain good amounts.
- Iodine is used to make thyroid hormone, which regulates your metabolism, growth, nerve and muscle function, and more. The amount of iodine in land-grown plants depends on the amount of iodine in the soil. Water-grown foods like cranberries and sea vegetables like kelp are a more reliable supply of this nutrient.
- Selenium is an antioxidant. Dates are the richest fruit source, but pomegranates and watermelon are other ways to get it into your diet.