Basics Print 9 Dietary Trace Minerals and What Foods Are High in Them By Shereen Lehman, MS Updated July 18, 2019 Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician More in Basics Hot Topics Food Safety Trace minerals are so named because your body needs only a tiny amount of each one. But that doesn't mean they don't matter because you need nine trace minerals to be healthy. Your body needs minerals for a variety of biochemical reactions to take place. Nutrition experts divide the dietary minerals into two groups: the six major minerals, which includes things like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and nine more trace minerals. The nine trace minerals are chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc. Eating a healthy well-balanced diet will supply your body with all the nutrients you need, including the trace minerals. See the primary sources of each trace mineral so you can ensure you're getting enough in your diet. Trace minerals are essential for your body to function properly, but you only need small amounts. Eating these foods will not provide your trace minerals but also lots of other important nutrients. 1 Chromium Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Chromium is necessary for healthy metabolism and storage of sugar and starch. It enhances the effects of insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in your blood. Chromium is essential for the metabolism of proteins and fats, as well. Dietary chromium is found in small quantities in a wide variety of foods, so deficiency is rare. Meat, whole grains, broccoli, potatoes, apples, bananas, garlic, and basil are all good sources of dietary chromium. 2 Copper Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Copper may not be a mineral you think about often but it really is important. Your body needs copper for strong bones and healthy blood vessel walls, plus it's a component of some antioxidant reactions and is necessary for your body to produce energy. Copper is also required for normal metabolism of iron, which is another significant trace mineral. Copper is found in organ meats, shellfish, nuts, seeds, cocoa, and whole grain products. Deficiency is unlikely as long as you get enough to eat every day, but it can happen if you consume an enormous amount of zinc. 3 Fluoride Louise Morgan/Getty Images You're probably already familiar with this important mineral. Fluoride helps keep your bones and teeth strong because it promotes remineralization of those tissues. In fact, recommendations for fluoride are based on the safest and most effective amounts needed to prevent dental cavities in both kids and adults. You'll find it in fluoridated drinking water, tea, and seafood. It's also found in fluoridated dental products such as toothpaste and some mouth rinses. 4 Iodine Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Your body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones called thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), so it's required for normal thyroid gland function. Iodine is also essential for immune system function and breast health. Iodine is found naturally in seafood and plant-based foods grown in iodine-rich soils such as the soil found near oceans. Iodine deficiency was a big problem in the middle of the U.S. until iodine was added to table salt in the 20th century. Iodine's Role in Thyroid Health 5 Iron Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Iron is an essential part of proteins called hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is found in red blood cells and makes it possible to transport oxygen from your lungs to the organs and other tissues. Myoglobin is similar to hemoglobin, except that it carries oxygen to muscle cells. Iron is also essential for normal immune system function and normal cell growth. Iron-rich foods include organ meats, muscle meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and dark leafy greens. 6 Manganese Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Manganese is involved in the formation of bone and is needed for wound healing. It's essential for the production of enzymes involved in protein, cholesterol, and carbohydrate metabolism. Manganese is also involved in some antioxidant activity. Manganese is found in pecans and other nuts, pineapples, sweet potatoes, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. 7 Molybdenum Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Molybdenum is a component of enzymes your body uses for breaking down amino acids, as well as drugs and toxins. It's found in a wide variety of plant foods, especially legumes and nuts, but the content mostly depends on how much molybdenum is in the soil. 8 Selenium Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Selenium is used in antioxidant reactions that help protect the cells in your body and is essential for healthy thyroid function. It's also critical to reproduction and DNA synthesis. Selenium is found in many plant-based foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Brazil nuts contain more selenium than any other food. It's not likely you'll suffer from a selenium deficiency as long as you eat plenty of plant-based foods. 9 Zinc Ursula Alter/Getty Images Zinc is used in many different chemical reactions and is a major component of your immune system and you need it to be able to taste your food and smell all the various things around you. As long as you're a meat eater you'll have no problem with your zinc intake. It's found in meats, seafood, and most other foods that are high in protein. Oysters are the go-to zinc source. They contain more zinc than any other food. 7 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Looking to lose weight? Our nutrition guide can help you get on the right track. Sign up and get it free! Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Dietary Reference Intakes Tables and Application. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Activities/Nutrition/SummaryDRIs/DRI-Tables.aspx. Minerals. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center, Oregon State University. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/.