Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Minerals a term loosely used to denote inorganic substances needed in the human diet. Not all of these are minerals in the sense of something that can be dug out of the ground. Another term used in this context is ‘trace elements’; but this really means only substances that are needed in tiny quantities, and does not fit the first five items in the table towards the end of this article, for example the 4 g (0.15 oz) or so of sodium needed each day by an adult. Dietitians speak of ‘macronutrients’ and ‘micronutrients’ to mean things of which relatively large and small amounts are required.