Minerals are very important for human beings. They are present in our bones, teeth, muscles, soft tissues, blood and nerves. They are not only important for our skeletal structure but also help in all vital physiological processes in the body. Without minerals there is no life.

Minerals are present in all the foods. But, mineral absorption is more complicated. Vegetarians eat more vegetables and cereals and some of the acids present in them can disturb the absorption of the mineral. We look here the three important acids which have an influence of mineral absorption. They are:

• Tannic acid
• Oxalic acid
• Phytic acid

Tannic acid and tannins can disturb and reduce the absorption of iron. Food rich in tannic acid/tannins include:

• Coffee
• Tea
• Berries
• Legumes
• Nuts
• Chocolate
• Spices
• Wine, beer…

Oxalic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium or iron and can reduce the absorption. It forms oxalates of the corresponding metal and the absorption of the salt is difficult. This can cause mineral deficiencies. Moreover calcium oxalate can cause kidney stones. The foods rich in oxalic acid include:

• Coffee
• Tea
• Cocoa
• Strawberries
• Cranberries
• Beans
• Parsley
• Spinach
• Sweet potatoes,
• Banana
• Soy beans
• Beets and beet greens
• Pumpkin
• Cabbage
• Green beans
• Brinjal
• Lentils
• Parsnips
• Mango
• Tomatoes
• Rbubarb
• Oats
• Buck wheat

Phytic acid can combine with calcium, iron and zinc to form phytates and phytates are difficult to absorb for the body. All the three minerals are very important for many functions in the body and the deficiency can cause several health problems. The foods rich in phytic acid include:

• Whole grain cereals, e. g. rice, oats, wheat, corn
• Peas
• Beans
• lentils
• Nuts
• Seeds

Although tannins, oxalic acid and phytic acid give problems with mineral absorption they do well to the health.

Tannic acid/ Tannins are naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. They have also anticarcinogenic effects.

Oxalic acid is not believed to be a health concern for many. If you suffer from kidney stones it is better to avoid foods which are very rich in oxalic acid.

Phytic acid has antioxidant and anticancer effects. Moreover, it can reduce cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.

There are many important things to be considered before writing a diet plan. Your doctor or dietician must know everything about you before make the suggestions. Detail knowledge is also necessary to recommend food supplements.