Remember in chemistry class when you had to memorize the periodic table of elements? Well, that's what minerals are - inorganic material made up of only one kind of atom. They come from rocks and metal ores. Electrolytes come from mineral compounds. We depend on minerals to activate all cellular function. How do we get them? There are living microorganisms in our soil which break down the rock material into an organic form, so that it can be absorbed by plants. We get our minerals from eating those plants or by eating animals that have eaten the plants.
Macrominerals - you need to consume more than 100 mg/day of these major minerals.
Calcium makes up your bones and teeth, regulates fluid balance, helps cells send messages and aids with muscle contraction.
Phosphorus is essential for bones and teeth. It also maintains PH levels, breaks down carbs and transports fats among tissues.
Magnesium is needed for calcium functionality, to conduct nerve impulses, aid the immune system and to help muscles relax.
Sulfer bonds proteins and is required for enzymes and insulin to function. It's also used for metabolism and detoxification.
Sodium is an electrolyte, or an electrically charged molecule. It helps control blood pressure, muscle and nerve function.
Potassium is an electrolyte which metabolizes starch. It is also used to synthesize proteins and build muscle tissue.
Chloride is a component of hydrochloric acid, which aids digestion and is used by white blood cells to help fight infection.
Trace Minerals - these are also essential, but in much smaller amounts.
Iron makes up various enzymes, but is also needed to make up hemoglobin, which transports oxygen via your red blood cells.
Zinc is used to make testosterone as well as other enzymes and hormones. It is necessary for growth and the immune system.
Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormones. It's also essential for tissue growth, protein synthesis and reproduction.
Selenium helps the body make antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage from free radicals - unstable molecules.
Copper is an antioxidant that makes it possible for your body to use iron. It also promotes bone growth and healthy nerves.
Manganese helps your body use use key nutrients: biotin, choline, thiamin and ascorbic acid, and is an enzyme component.
Fluoride strengthens dental enamel which helps prevent cavities. It also helps to stimulate bone growth.
Chromium is used to metabolize fat, and also plays a role in how insulin regulates blood sugar levels.
Molybdenum produces uric acid, aids in metabolizing carbs, and detoxifies sulfite.
Now that we've identified the minerals, how do we get them into our body?
The trick is to eat foods that have a high nutrient content. More fruits and vegetables, right? Unfortunately, it's a lot more complicated than that. Thanks to pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, we no longer have mineral rich soil. The microorganisms that used to break down the minerals have been killed off. But now we see strawberries as big as our fist - why is that? Scientists have "enhanced" the seeds by altering the genetics. They may taste sweeter and juicier, but are they natural? More sugar does not mean more nutritious.
What about SuperFoods? Dr. Oz comes up with something new every week: Garcinia Cambogia, Green Coffee Beans, Acai Berries, Raspberry Ketones, etc. I admit, I have tried more than one of these. All are beneficial, but are they bioavailable? You need active live enzymes and other minerals present in your diet to break down the nutrients, otherwise they just pass through. For example, we all take Vitamin C, especially when we are coming down with a cold. Without calcium and magnesium the Vitamin C is useless because it cannot be broken down and absorbed by the cells.
We have also introduced many foods that actually block the absorption
of minerals and vitamins in our diet.
Did you know that sugar sucks up vitamin C, causes chromium and copper deficiencies, and inhibits the absorption of calcium and magnesium? High Fructose Corn Syrup depletes chromium, magnesium, zinc and copper. Many fruits, vegetables and grains contain phytates, which also keep your body from absorbing niacin, zinc, iron, chromium, copper, magnesium, manganese and calcium. I am in no way suggesting that you try to keep track of all this. Remember, this is about SOLUTIONS. My point is that our food supply in the United States is not what we think it is.
As we get older our ability to absorb nutrients declines.
Many of us take medication that also interferes with the absorption of nutrients. If you exercise, you need even more nutrients. (Some people believe that all they need is more exercise in order to "get healthy.") By the way, exercise is not an excuse to eat more empty calories. If you want your body to function the way it was meant to, you have to give it the fuel it needs. You also must provide a way for those nutrients to be absorbed, and the only way to do that is to include active live enzymes.
An enzyme is a specialized kind of protein that speeds up a chemical reaction. Some aerobic enzymes process glucose quickly in response to high-intensity exercise, and others (anaerobic enzymes) break down stored fat during low to moderate exercise. Aerobic means the cells need oxygen to produce energy, that's why you breathe hard when you are running. You will learn more about this under METABOLISM. We're going to skip over the metabolic and digestive enzymes, and specifically address the food enzymes, which are found in raw foods. When we cook food we often destroy these enzymes. A poor diet which does not contain active live enzymes prematurely ages you and leads to illness because your body has to work harder to digest the food you eat.
Obesity rates have doubled since 1980, why is that?
It's because nutritional deficiency is only one part of the equation. Another part is what food manufacturers are adding to the food - chemicals which make them addictive.