Over the course of my own journey and relationship with food, I have found that one source of motivation for me is understanding why it is important for me to try a new food. For me, motivation can be found in the facts, the science and the intricacies of what I cannot see. Kale is a good example. It became increasingly apparent to me that it is one of the healthiest foods we can be eating, but upon examination at the grocery store, I struggled visually, emotionally, to get excited about it. But the more I understood the massive antioxidant and cleansing power of kale, and the fiber content, the harder I worked at buying it, preparing it different ways and finding ways to make it a delicious part of my dietary path. As a result of this process, I really like kale! So as we feature Selenium this month, I want to use this opportunity to take a closer look at minerals, what they are, why you need them and where they are found in your food. I hope greater understanding motivates you to expand the variety in your whole food choices to optimize your intake of valuable minerals.
Minerals naturally occur in rock and stone formations. When rock and stone are slowly broken down into tiny fragments by erosion from wind, rain, water and sun, the end result is dust and sand that make what we call soil. From the soil grow numerous grasses and plants. We also plant our herbs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains in this soil. Mineral rich soil will yield mineral rich plants. Likewise, animals that graze on mineral rich plants will also yield mineral rich meat and milk. The body demands larger quantities of the minerals calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus but equally important and necessary in much smaller amounts are selenium, boron, chromium, copper, germanium, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, silicon, sulfur, vanadium and zinc.
We must consume minerals. Every living cell in the planet depends on minerals to work properly and maintain shape, including all the cells that make our own bodies. That is, after all, what you are…trillions of tiny cells clumped together to make up blood, organs, bones, muscle, skin and all the rest. Minerals are essential for:
- Proper composition of all body fluids such as blood and the water that makes up as much as 70% of the body
- Making blood and bones
- Proper nerve function
- Regulating muscle tone
- Working in partnership with vitamins to produce energy, growth and healing
- Proper utilization of vitamins in the body
Minerals work best in combination together with each other and with vitamins and this is how they occur in nature – together. So eating organic foods from rich, well cared for soils will provide the magical blend of minerals and vitamins that work in unison to provide your body with optimal health. Likewise, soil that is overworked and depleted of valuable minerals will not offer mineral rich foods.