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Olwen Anderson's Blog

More Minerals Please

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sushi is wrapped in kelp, a rich source of vitaminsThey’re easily overlooked, but they’re so important. Minerals are the vital players in a multitude of processes in your body, including building immunity, digesting food, and creating neurotransmitters for a happy, calm mood. Our modern diets are often deficient in minerals; partly from our food choices, and partly from demineralised soil.

The smooth running of your body’s biochemical processes relies heavily on the right materials being present in at the right time in the right quantities. Without all the vital ingredients, processes like the creation of enzymes can occur too slowly, in smaller quantities than needed, or not happen at all. This can have negative effects: poor digestion, reduced immunity, a tendency to gain weight, and mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

How did our modern diet become deficient in minerals? There are several contributing factors:

  1. Eating low value foods made from white flour and white sugar. It may fill you up, but won’t give you much value in return.
  2. Some food is grown in poor soil, creating poor value plants
  3. Some farmed animals are fed on this poor value food, creating low value meat.

There are lots of minerals that your body needs; some obscure, some well-known. Here are the major mineral deficiencies I see in the clinic:

Iodine: The mineral from the sea that will help create hormones, regulate the speed of your metabolism, and shunt energy storage to muscle production rather than fat. For infants, iodine is essential for brain development.

Magnesium: The muscle relaxer. Your muscles use calcium to contract, and magnesium to relax. People low in magnesium often have chronically tight muscles.

Zinc: It takes part in a multitude of body processes; but most importantly in immunity, digestion and mood.

It seems easy to take a supplement if you think you’re low in minerals, but there’s a catch. Some minerals compete for absorption, so dosing up on one can create a deficiency in another. For example, calcium competes with magnesium for absorption; Iron and Zinc compete, as do Fluoride and iodine.  Professional advice can help here. In the meantime, you can give your body a mineral boost, naturally and easily, by choosing mineral-rich foods:

-          A useful rule of thumb for food shopping: The darker the colour, the more rich in minerals that food is.

-          Organically grown food may be more mineral-rich, as the soil it is grown in is richer (although the scientific community is yet to agree on this.)

-          Game meat (like kangaroo) and wild seafood are naturally higher in minerals than farmed meat and farmed seafood.

-          Using celtic (also known as ‘grey’ or ‘macrobiotic’) salt will provide a wide spectrum of trace minerals. Kelp (a sea vegetable) is valuable too.

-          Nuts and seeds are naturally rich in minerals, as they contain the materials needed to create a new plant.


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