Mighty Minerals

In This Chapter

^ Explaining how your body uses minerals ^ Getting the minerals you need from foods

Finding out what happens when you don't get enough (or you get too much) minerals ^ Knowing when you need a little extra inerals are elements, substances composed of only one kind of atom. They're inorganic (translation: They don't contain the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms found in all organic compounds, including vitamins). Minerals occur naturally in nonliving things such as rocks and metal ores. Although minerals also are present in plants and animals, they're imported: Plants get minerals from soil; animals get minerals by eating plants.

Most minerals have names reflecting the places where they're found or characteristics such as their color. For example, the name calcium comes from calx, the Greek word for "lime" (chalk), where calcium is found; chlorine comes from chloros, the Greek word for "greenish-yellow," which just happens to be the color of the mineral. Other minerals, such as americium, curium, berkelium, californium, fermium, and nobelium, are named for where they were found or to honor an important scientist.

This chapter tells you which minerals your body requires to stay in tiptop shape, where to find these minerals in food, and precisely how much of each mineral a healthy person needs.

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