Getting Minerals You Need

Table below is a handy guide to foods that provide the minerals and trace elements your body needs. This chart is the easy way to figure out which foods (and how much) provide at least 25 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for healthy adults ages 25 to 50.

No muss, no fuss, no calculators. Just photocopy these pages and stick them on the fridge. What an easy way to eat right! Wait! One more important note: When you see “men” or “women” in the following chart, it means “men and women ages 25 to 50” — unless otherwise noted.

Food Serving
CALCIUM and PHOSPHORUS RDA: Calcium — men and women 1,000 mg
RDA: Phosphorus — men and women 700 mg
Breads, cereals, grains
Bran muffin, English muffin 2 whole
Dairy products
Natural Gruyère, Romano, Swiss, Parmesan cheeses 1 ounce
Processed cheddar or Swiss cheeses 1½ ounces
Natural blue, brick, Camembert, feta, Gouda, Monterey, mozzarella, Muenster, provolone, Roquefort cheeses 2 ounces
Ricotta cheese ½ cup
Ice cream/ice milk 1 cup
Milk — all varieties, including chocolate 1 cup
Yogurt — all varieties 1 cup (8 ounces)
Tofu ½ cup, cubed
MAGNESIUM RDA: Men 400-420 mg,* women 310-320 mg*
Breads, cereals, grains

Bread — whole wheat 4 slices
Bran muffin, English muffin, pita — whole wheat 2 whole
Cold cereal 2 ounces
Artichoke 2 medium
Black-eyed peas, chickpeas, soybeans, white beans (dry, cooked) 1 cup
Dairy products
Milk — chocolate, made with skim milk 2 cups
Yogurt — plain nonfat 2 cups
Nuts and seeds 2 tbsp.
Tofu ½ cup cubed
IRON RDA: Men 8 mg, women 18 mg, 8 mg*
Breads, cereals, grains
Bagel, bran muffin, pita 2 whole
Farina, oatmeal — instant, fortified 1⁄3 cup
Cold cereal 1 ounce
Apricots (dried, cooked) 1 cup
Black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, red and white beans (dried, cooked) Soybeans (cooked) 1 cup
Meat, poultry, fish ½ cup
Liver — beef, pork 3 ounces
Liver — chicken, turkey 1 cup, diced
Clams (raw) — meat only 3–4 ounces
Oysters (raw) — meat only 1–2 ounces
Pine nuts, seeds — pumpkin or squash 4 tbsp.
ZINC RDA: Men 11 mg, women 8 mg
Breads, cereals, grains
Cold cereals — fortified 2 ounces
Meat, poultry, fish
Beef — all varieties, lean 3 ounces
Lamb — all varieties, lean 3 ounces
Tongue (braised) 3 ounces
Veal — roast, lean only 3 ounces
Chicken (no skin) 2 legs
Oysters 3 ounces
Dairy products
Yogurt — all varieties 2 cups
Seeds — pumpkin or squash 4 tbsp.
COPPER AI: Men and women 900 mg.
Breads, cereals, grains
Barley (cooked) 1⁄3 cup
Bran muffin, English muffin, pita 2 whole
Prunes (dried, cooked) 1 cup
Black-eyed peas, lentils, soybeans (cooked) 1 cup
Meat, poultry, fish
Liver — beef, calf 3 ounces
Liver — chicken, turkey ½ cup, diced
Crabmeat, lobster, oysters, shrimp 3 ounces
Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts/filberts, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, mixed nuts 4 tbsp.
Seeds — pumpkin, sesame, squash, sunflower 4 tbsp.

*The lower numbers are for people age 19-30; the higher numbers, for people age 31+. Good Sources of Nutrients (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Human Nutrition Service, 1990); Nutritive Value of Food (Washington, D.C.: USDA, 1991); DRI reports 1998-2004

Did you notice something missing from this list? Right you are. There are no entries for the essential trace elements chromium, fluoride, iodine, molybdenum, and selenium, because a healthful, varied diet provides sufficient quantities of these nutrients. Iodized salt and fluoridated water are extra insurance.