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Mineral elements are inorganic substances. They are found in all body tissues and fluids. They are supplied by the diet as their salts; for example, sodium chloride. They may also be combined with organic compounds like iron in hemoglobin and sulphur in almost all proteins. Unlike carbohydrates, fats and proteins, mineral elements do not furnish energy but they may influence the rate of biological reactions through enzymes.
The mineral elements are not destroyed in food preparations un like vitamins. However, they are soluble in water so that some loss will occur if cooking liquids are discarded.
Minerals are classified into two main groups : macro elements and micro elements. Macro elements are required in large amount (>100 mg/day) and present in large quantities in the body, whereas micro elements are required in small quantity (<100 mg/day) and also present in small amount in tissues and body fluids.
Some of the macro elements are calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potasium, chlorine (as chloride), magnesium and sulphur.
The important micro elements essential for normal body functions are iron, copper, iodine, fluorine, zinc, cobalt, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, selenium etc.
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