If you’re health-conscious, you’ve probably devoted a decent amount of food-shopping time to worrying about which vitamins you’re loading up on – but in fact it’s the “and minerals” half of the equation where you’re likely to be short-changing yourself at the checkout. As a functioning mammal, you need more than 20 minerals to sustain your body, and though you’re certainly getting the trace amounts of some whatever you eat (like boron and chromium), there are other areas where you might want to check if you’re coming up short. Here are the ten you need.
You can get enough of this mineral crucial to testosterone levels with a diet rich in meat and eggs, but if you’re deficient – or if you sweat a lot – then supplementing will help, according to a 2007 study. Otherwise, 5-10mg daily will work as an antioxidant, as well as keeping your immune system in shape. Browse zinc supplements on amazon.co.uk
Eating plenty of leafy veg and nuts? You might get enough. Otherwise, you probably don’t – after vitamin D, magnesium’s the second most common deficiency in developed countries. Taken with food, 200-400mg a day will help your blood pressure and insulin sensitivity. Studies also suggest it can radically improve your quality of sleep. Browse magnesium supplements on amazon.co.uk
Technically a macronutrient, since you need it in large amounts – more than a gram a day can be beneficial. Its main effect is a lower risk of osteoporosis – in a 1994 study, it reduced fractures in elderly people – and although you probably get enough from your diet, more fibre will increase your body’s ability to process it. Aim for 1,000mg a day. Browse calcium supplements on amazon.co.uk
It’s possible to overdo it – side effects include increased predisposition to diabetes – but, according to a meta-study published in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, getting the balance right will diminish your risk of prostate cancer: 200-300mcg a day is the sweet spot. Get it from brazils, tuna and sunflower seeds. Browse selenium supplements on amazon.co.uk
Most people know it’s in bananas – one reason to eat them when hungover is that you lose potassium as booze dehydrates you – but a physically demanding job or regular workout habit means you need more than the average man. It helps heart, kidney and organ function: avocado, almonds and citrus fruits are high in it, and it’s hard to overdose. Browse potassium supplements on amazon.co.uk
The second-most plentiful mineral in your body (after calcium) can cause complications if it’s too high (likely) or low (less likely). Your body uses it to filter waste, to build strong bones and teeth, and in nerve signalling. Get 700mg a day from meat and milk – or, if you’re a vegan, by eating wholemeal bread rather than refined.
You don’t need much - your body stores roughly 15-20mg, which you could easily eat in a day – and it’s essential for healthy skin: researchers have found that manganese-deficient diets can lead to rashes and worse. Get it from your morning oats, and throw in a handful of raspberries or a dash of cinnamon to keep topped up. Browse manganese supplements on amazon.co.uk
Your body’s third most abundant mineral takes care of teeth, bones and hair, as well as regulating insulin function. You mainly get it through amino acids so “complete” sources of those, including meat and fish, are best. Top up with asparagus, garlic and onions.
You probably already get enough – meat, nuts, dark leafy greens and wholegrains are all rich in it – but it’s worth checking, because it helps make red blood cells, and deficiency (anaemia) can lead to fatigue, dizziness and lack of energy. There’s evidence it could even improve your attention span. Vegans should consider supplements. Browse iron supplements on amazon.co.uk
It’s crucial for bone and tissue integrity, but also for energy production: it actually works in conjunction with iron, so some cases of iron deficiency are actually misdiagnosed copper-ingestion problems. Mushrooms and spinach are both good sources – it isn’t affected by heat, so toss some in a pan with your morning eggs. Browse copper supplements on amazon.co.uk
Get the Coach Newsletter
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, reviews of the latest gear and more.
From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.