Have you ever seen a dog licking sand? It's because of the minerals that are found in the earth. If you didn't pay attention during science class in school, you may have missed the periodic table ' but it's actually quite important to your everyday health. Minerals are basically elements (like magnesium, iron, chromium, etc.) and they make up everything ' the universe as well as you.
'In the human body, minerals act as catalysts, participating in enzyme systems that allow the transformation of the food and air we breathe into energy, vibrant health, and consciousness.' ' Paul Bergner, The Healing Power of Minerals.
Where human instinct is lacking, science is catching up ' every living organism needs minerals. Unfortunately, it seems the ground we are farming on has less minerals to offer than it did 100 years ago. This has been put down to intensive farming methods that have stripped the earth down. Food grown today is less nutritious than food grown in your grandparent's youth.
Several studies supporting this are mentioned by the Organic Consumers Association: 'A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent. A similar study of British nutrient data from 1930 to 1980, published in the British Food Journal, found that in 20 vegetables the average calcium content had declined 19 percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent. Yet another study concluded that one would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one.'
There are two types of minerals, macro- and trace. Macrominerals are probably more familiar to you and that's good because you need more of them. They include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur. It's the trace minerals you might not be fully aware of and while you only need a bit, you do still need them. These include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium. There are hundreds of trace elements, however, and while we do get most of them from the food we eat, science is only now beginning to understand just how vital they are to our well-being.
Our bodies don't make these vital minerals ' Mother Nature offers them up to us for our health and well-being. They're important because they provide structural support for bones and connective tissue, they allow electrical impulses to be conducted to our nerves and they act as catalysts for enzyme reactions in our bodies.
Touch the Earth
We take a look at some of these trace minerals and where you can get them from:
Helps your body produce hemoglobin and connective tissues and helps your cells produce energy. You can get copper from seeds, nuts, seafood and organ meat.
Assists the insulin in your body to use glucose. A lack of it has similar symptoms to diabetes. Get yours from whole grains, peas, eggs, cheese and meat.
Important to assist your thyroid in regulating how your body uses energy. Get it from potatoes, iodized salt and saltwater fish.
Your body needs iron to help transport oxygen to your cells and enzymes. Sources of iron include meat, spinach, seeds, beans and whole wheat.
Assists bone formation as well as plays a part in metabolizing energy from food. It also helps build cartilage and boots your immune system. Get your daily dose with kale, pineapple, strawberries, lentils and whole grains.
This helps your body use iron to make red blood cells, it works in conjunction with riboflavin. Get yours from liver, grains, dairy and beans.
Together with Vitamin E, selenium is an antioxidant that protects your cells and supports your immune function. Eat these to get your dose: seeds, seafood, eggs, whole grains and organ meat.
Good for tissue growth and repair, zinc also helps your body to properly utilize the food you eat, as well as helps your body use Vitamin A more efficiently (important for hair and skin). Peas, nuts, seeds, eggs, meat and whole grains will supply you with zinc.
Herbal teas have long been used for numerous different ailments. Here are a few that pack a trace mineral punch:
1. Red Clover
Brimming with trace minerals like calcium, chromium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, red clover also contains isoflavone, which is similar to estrogen and is great for easing menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes.
2. Raspberry leaf
A fantastic source of iron, calcium, phosphorous and magnesium. Excellent source of these minerals for pregnant women.
Has a high iron content as well as Vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron. A must-have for people suffering from anaemia.
This is a fantastic tea if you battle with water retention. But it's also filled with iron, calcium, sodium, phosphorous and potassium.