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How To Be Healthy: Minerals - Power to Spare
( Published 1962 )
We are all very much alike in that we want uninterrupted good health, along with the vitality and stamina to enjoy our work or play; but protein, carbohydrates, and fats alone are not enough to assure us of these physical blessings. The body also requires special substances known as minerals. If minerals are lacking, the vitamins cannot perform their various functions; if vitamins are absent, however, the body can make some use of minerals.
As with vitamins, the body needs ever so little of each of the minerals, but minerals in their proper balance can make the difference between illness and glowing health.
The body needs at least sixteen minerals to maintain energy and lengthen life, and I believe that the minerals are very much more important to health than most people realize. Somewhere along the line, the fact that the content of the human body is a mineral one has been forgotten, even though this basic truth is mentioned in the Book of Genesis.
Minerals are able to maintain the water balance in your body which [is] required for life processes. They draw chemical substances in and out of your cells. Minerals help to keep blood and tissue fluid from becoming either too acid or too alkaline. Minerals also stimulate glandular secretion of hormones and influence the nervous system which sends mental messages throughout all of your body organs, limbs, etc. Minerals are able to nourish your body to prevent irritability and help in the contractibility of muscles.
We must supply minerals to the body daily, as they are vitally necessary to conserve and help recondition blood, bones, brains, hair, heart, muscles, nerves, and teeth. All of them are imperative to gland functions. They are also required for the development, health, vigor, and efficient operation of many other parts of the body. They are essential for adequate blood circulation as well as for good heart and blood vessel tone.
Since healthy blood needs to be more alkaline than acid, minerals are needed in order to perform this delicate balance by adding proper amounts of copper and iron.
When mineral deficiences accumulate, the bones become brittle and break easily, teeth go bad, and brain cells and the heart muscle do not perform their functions properly. Unless there is a constant daily intake, the blood will withdraw minerals from the tissues and bones. It was not realized until recently that mineral deficiencies also caused a depletion of strength and virility.
The average American's diet is nearly always meagerly supplied with minerals, due to the widespread processing of foodstuffs. Therefore, you must be sure to eat foods containing calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and sulphur . Trace minerals, such as iodine, nickel, and silver, are also being more and more generally acclaimed for the important services they render the body.
Minerals, in truth, are integral parts of all the bones and tissues, and the absolutely supreme mineral in the human body, on a quantitative basis, is calcium. It is a metallic element usually found in nature in association with other chemicals. Its efficacy in the body is regulated by two pairs of very small glands called parathyroids . Your bones are more than two thirds mineral content, and the dominant mineral is calcium. Calcium gives solidity to bones and teeth, and in order to lengthen life it is important that you fortify your bones.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body; it comprises more than 2% of your weight. About 99% of this calcium is stored in your bones and teeth. A mere 1 % then circulates throughout all the soft tissues and body fluids. This mineral is needed for healing of wounds, blood clotting, for the stimulation of certain enzyme action and to control the passage of fluid through the cell and tissue walls. The proper amount of calcium in your blood is needed for the alternate contraction and relaxation of the heart muscles.
Just as vitamin C is the key vitamin, so calcium could be termed the key mineral. When there is too little calcium in the bloodstream, the body develops a kind of undernourishment, which is damaging to bones, heart, muscles, nerves, and teeth-the health of which is the origin of a vigorous body and mind. Every muscle in the body, including the heart, relies on calcium for its power, and the heart cannot relax if calcium is at a low ebb.
The need for calcium is continuous throughout life, and it is well-known that the body demands calcium as it does no other single factor. It is one of the most vital nutritional elements required for the formation and rebuilding of body tissues. Growing children especially need a liberal amount of calcium when bones and teeth are developing. Likewise, pregnant women and nursing mothers need additional calcium. It strengthens and regulates the heart, preserves powerful muscular elasticity, 'and induces sound sleep. Spasms in the intestine, usually referred to as colitis, or spastic constipation, are generally alleviated by ample amounts of this mineral. A liberal intake is usually followed by better body development, while at the same time it helps steady nerves and relieve exhausting tensions.
Calcium has been found to be very useful as a pain reliever, regardless of the cause of the pain. For instance, it is alleged that migraine headache sufferers can often obtain relief by taking calcium. It is also said that calcium will soothe the pain of arthritis in from one to three days. Likewise, nutritionists advise that an increased amount be taken during menstrual periods and throughout the course of the menopause.
It is not widely known that the absorption of calcium is blocked by many drugs and some foods, such as bread, chocolate, and cocoa; it is interfered with by anything that encourages the flow of alkaline gastric juices. Sodium fluoride, which has been added to drinking water in many communities, also produces such a result.
The inability to utilize calcium effectively is widespread, regardless of the fact that this mineral is so essential to health and especially critical to the well-being of middle-aged and older persons.
While only 1 percent of the calcium intake is used by the soft tissues, if the body does not obtain it the subsequent signs readily appear: bad posture, brittle bones, cramps in the abdomen and legs, nervous tension, rapid heartbeat (often linked with nervousness), receding of bone around the teeth, and tooth decay. Loss of this vital substance is the main cause of osteoporosis and bone frailty. This is clearly indicated in the case of many elderly people, whose bones may be broken with very little force, as well as in the frequency with which cataracts form during the later years.
According to some medical authorities, the American dietary is perhaps more lacking in calcium than in any other essential food. Calcium deficiency is one of the known causes of premature aging. Dr. Henry C. Sherman of Columbia University, a noted biochemist, has stated:
The prime period of human life could be extended by a moderate increase in calcium in the diet of those in or approaching the ranks of senior citizens, plus eating twice the minimum amount of protein, and a sizable increase in the daily intake of Vitamins A and C.
The National Research Council recommends that adults obtain a minimum of one thousand milligrams (one gram) each day. The same amount is recommended for growing children.
There are many excellent sources of calcium. Nearly all fresh foods contain some calcium. (Unfortunately, pasteurized milk is not a good source of this mineral.) Foods that you can count on for important amounts of calcium are:
almonds, fish, poultry, blackstrap molasses, fruits/fresh, potatoes, broccoli, honey, sprouts, buttermilk, kale, soybeans, cheese, meat, turnip greens, collards, mustard greens, whole grains, cottage cheese, nuts, yogurt, eggs
The very best supplementary source of calcium is bone meal. Other supplementary sources are calcium gluconate , calcium lactate, calcium tablets, and sea kelp.
This mineral acts as a cleanser of the body. As it naturally appears in food, it is useful in producing hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Here is a mineral which acts like the broomstick of nature by removing toxic waste products from your system. Chlorine stimulates production of hydrochloric acid in the digestive tract so that proteins may be properly worked upon and utilized. Chlorine is helpful to keep a supple joint and tendon condition and has been seen to distribute the hormones secreted by your endocrine glands.
Shortage of chlorine can hamper growth and cause anxiety and uneasiness.
Best food sources are: beets, leafy greens, milk, radishes, raw meat, ripe olives, and table salt.
Copper is necessary for the proper use of iron by the body and is therefore of importance in preventing anemia. This mineral has something to do with pigment composition and may have an influence in preserving hair color. Copper also aids bone marrow in the production of red blood cells. With iodine and iron, this substance is necessary for healthy sex glands.
This essential mineral combines with iron to help metabolize food into hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying substance found within the red blood cells. Copper is also needed by stomach enzymes for proper function. Copper is also found in the liver, bile, blood, and is required for the assimilation of iron.... The formation of melanin, the pigment of the skin, also depends on this essential mineral, [which] also aids in utilization of vitamin C.
Lack of copper results in impaired breathing and habitual weakness.
Copper is usually well supplied in good, natural foods; reliable sources are:
almonds, egg yolk, prunes, apricots, figs, shrimp, beans/dried, liver, soy, flour, blackstrap molasses, loganberries, vegetables/green, clams, oysters, whole grains
Iodine is one of the so-called trace minerals, of which the body requires only a very minute quantity. What is a trace? One one thousandth of an ounce for an adult; but this trifling pittance is sufficient for the body's needs, and you must have it-or die! Iodine is located almost entirely in the thyroid gland, and is necessary for the proper functioning of that gland.
You need iodine to relieve nervous tension, for greater endurance and stamina, and for controlling weight. It is especially required by the thyroid gland to produce the hormone thyroxin, which promotes growth and is an important factor in the conservation of health from top to toe.
Iodine cooperates with iron in the body and reacts favorably upon sexual potency. The blood vessels, brain, and heart and the endocrine system share the benefits derived from iodine-rich foods.
Women should have more iodine and iron because their losses of these nutrients through menstruation, gestation, and lactation are quite considerable. Iodine is further required for the digestion, assimilation and combustion of fats.
A deficiency of iodine may cause goiter, an enlarged neck. It may also lead to myxedema -- complete cessation of the secretion of the thyroid-which causes overweight, sluggishness, and lowered mentality.
The major source of iodine is the ocean. Animal and plant foods from the ocean are a trustworthy source of iodine. Two superior iodine-rich seafoods are haddock and codfish. Cod liver oil is also a long-accepted and approved source. Clams, lobsters, and oysters are other good iodine foods. In addition, dehydrated sea vegetation, such as dulse and kelp, are first-class sources of the highest quality. Garlic is the best vegetable source.
Other food sources are:
asparagus, lettuce, potatoes, bananas, milk, radishes, cabbage, milk products, salmon, carrots, mushrooms, seeds, celery, onions, strawberries, egg yolk, peanuts, tomatoes, fruits, peas, tunafish
In many cases, taking an undue amount of iodine will neither increase nor decrease thyroid gland activity. If you are eating a good diet containing some of the foods suggested above, you are no doubt obtaining enough iodine. Remember-the body needs only a trace!
Iron is present to some extent in most natural foods, and this important mineral is in certain respects the most significant of the mineral family, not only because it is important in building energy, but because it prevents anemia.
Iron is necessary for good, healthy blood, which conveys blood sugar, food, oxygen, and other nutrients to all parts of the body.
Throughout the billions of body cells and tissues in your system, each tiny one must depend upon iron for a supply of oxygen-its breath of life. Your brain requires oxygen for proper function and iron is needed to carry oxygen throughout your body to all blood capillaries and tissues, including those located in your brain. Poor heart beat, a bluish-white eyeball condition, poor skin health may be traced to an iron-poor diet.
Anemia is one of the most treacherous diseases known. It subtly saps the foundation of resistance, allowing infection to invade the body. Further, anemia can induce dull, prematurely gray hair, untimely wrinkling of the skin, fingernails that break easily, shortness of breath, and a raw, inflamed mouth and tongue. It is estimated by many nutritionists that approximately 90 percent of American women are afflicted with anemia to some degree.
Moreover, anemia can lead to mental derangement occurring in association with excessive disappointment and worry over lack of success or an unfavorable situation.
Due to the discovery of vitamin B-12, fortunately, pernicious anemia seems to be under control now. Minute doses of B-12 are much more powerful than liver alone, and prospects of relief from this serious disease are favorable.
A diet adequate in protein and the B-complex vitamins from natural sources will ordinarily be well supplied with iron.
The National Research Council's usual recommendation is at least twelve milligrams of iron daily for a man, and fifteen milligrams for a woman: more if the menstrual flow is profuse and during pregnancy and lactation.
The following foods are good sources:
apricots (best fruit source), barley, whole beef, blackstrap molasses, brewer's yeast, clams, egg yolk, green vegetables (parsley is the richest source), heart, honey, kidney, lamb, liver, oysters, peanuts, prunes, raisins, tongue, turkey (best meat source), wheat germ, whole grains
Another fundamental body mineral is magnesium. So vital is it to your welfare that an adequate or inadequate intake can mean the difference between health and disease. It is required for normal muscle activity and has a bearing on the action of enzymes in the body.
Magnesium is closely related to both calcium and phosphorus in its location and its functions in the body. About 70% of the magnesium in the body is in the bones. The rest is in the soft tissues and blood. Magnesium acts as a starter for some of the chemical reactions within the body. It plays an important role as a co-enzyme in the building of protein. We have also noted that magnesium is nature's way to calm and cool the nervous system. This mineral also adds firmness to your bones and takes part in the formation of the albumen of the blood.
In recent years it has been brought to light (Prevention Magazine, December 1963) that, as far back as 1930, two French doctors obtained effective results in the treatment of urinary conditions with magnesium chloride. They found that it prevents gall bladder and kidney stones.
In 1932, Dr. Schrumpf-Pierron , Professor of Medicine at the Sorbonne in Paris, studied the health of thirteen million Egyptians and concluded that magnesium in their diet is a cancer preventative. This was confirmed by Dr. Pierre Delbet of the French Academy of Medicine in 1944, after exhaustive soil and crop analyses and statistical studies.
Additionally, magnesium has been found to be the most effective single ingredient in promoting good bone structure. It is an efficient agent against pyorrhea, as it aids the assimilation of other minerals and restores natural bone solidity. It also benefits degenerative artery disorders and causes excessive calcium and osteophytes (hardened swellings on a tendon or bone) to disappear. It is even reported effective against ordinary body odors.
In some unknown way it suppresses substances in waste that cause odor.
Deficiency of magnesium causes a disturbance of the calcification of the bone. A scarcity of this mineral is also detrimental to the blood vessels, the blood pressure, and the heart, and is a significant factor in causing periodontal disease, osteoporosis, and even epilepsy. Believe it or not, many children classed as dull or backward are often merely deficient in magnesium. This raises the interesting possibility that "problem children" may be undernourished.
Magnesium is abundant in green leaves. Seeds and nuts are also known to be high in magnesium content. You can protect yourself against a deficit by using any of the following foods:
almonds, corn, peas/dried, beet greens, endive, pecans, blackstrap molasses, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, bone meal, honey, soy flour, brazil nuts, kelp, sunflower seeds, buckwheat/whole grain, kohlrabi, walnuts, lima beans/dried, wheat germ, cashew nuts, peanuts
As a supplement to the above foods, a new product is now available in health food and diet shops, in convenient tablet form, under the trade name Dolomite. This is a combination of natural sources of magnesium and calcium, with the emphasis on magnesium.
The recommended quantity of magnesium to take daily is seven to ten milligrams per kilogram of body weight, or approximately 448 to 640 milligrams. I use eight Dolomite tablets a day, which yield about 625 milligrams. The average American's intake is less than three hundred milligrams per day. Because the body excretes magnesium quickly, it should be taken several times a day.
Phosphorus serves as a solidifying agent in building bones and teeth and makes them strong. In the tissues it combines with the very essence of each cell. This mineral directly affects the brain cells, sustaining the appropriate fluid content, and, in union with calcium, it reinforces the functions and power of the brain, nerves, and muscles.
Phosphorus is needed as well to stabilize the acid-alkaline level in the blood and urine, for all glandular secretions, for muscle contraction, and for that vital spark. It also stimulates enzymes and assists in the digestion of carbohydrates and fats.
This mineral combines with calcium; for utilization, each requires the presence of the other. Phosphorus blends with calcium for ossification or calcification to create strong bones. Phosphorus is an essential constituent of every living body tissue. It takes part in the chemical reactions with proteins, fats and carbohydrates to produce body energy to stimulate growth and repair. It helps your blood to neutralize excess acidity and maintain a healthy alkaline condition.
Deficiency of phosphorus results in brittle bones, faulty appetite, rickets, sluggish growth, tendency to pyorrhea, tooth decay, weakness, and weight loss.
All protein foods, like cheese, eggs, fish, meats, and nuts, and nearly all vegetables and fruits contain some phosphorus. Other good sources are:
beet tops, red cabbage, cranberries, soybeans, poultry, whole grains
Remember: Calcium and phosphorus are assimilated in the body only when vitamin D is present.
Potassium is to the heart and nerves what calcium is to the bones. One should not neglect this mineral in view of its necessity for the harmonious functioning of the nervous system and the building and conserving of body resources. There is no substitute.
One of its principal tasks is to maintain the suppleness and pliability of the tissues. It is one of the most vital of all the minerals, being necessary for consistent development of the body; there can be no life without it. This mineral inhibits the thickening that threatens the entire cardiovascular system. Vigor, muscular endurance, and normal blood pressure are only three of the substantial physical gains to be expected from the extraordinary mineral potassium.
This mineral joins with phosphorus to cause oxygen to be transported to the cells of your brain. It also nourishes the muscular system and aids in normalization of the heart beat. You need potassium to invigorate your kidney to aid in disposing of body waste products and also for muscular contraction strength. Your entire glandular and hormonal systems are influenced by potassium.
In addition, potassium conserves body fluids and assists in the utilization of protein. It is also resorted to in the treatment of dizziness, fatigue, chronic headache (including migraine), high blood pressure, and overweight, and it has been of great value in controlling diarrhea.
A lack of this mineral produces conditions favorable to constipation, indigestion, insomnia, loss of mental agility, muscular fatigue, nervousness, pimples, retarded growth, spasms in body muscles, and proneness to colds, and can lead ultimately to congestive heart failure.
To obtain plenty of potassium, use the following foods:
almonds, cherries, lentils, apple cider vinegar, cucumbers, olives, apple juice, figs, onions, blackberries, fruits, potatoes, blackstrap molasses, grape juice, prunes, cabbage, green vegetables, tomatoes, carrots, honey, watercress, cranberry juice, kelp, whole grains
Silicon is required for good skin, sound teeth, and tough bones. It is a constituent of albumin, blood, hair, nails, nerves, and teeth.
A lack of silicon in the diet leads to loss of hair, a pronounced decline in resistance to infection, and prompt decay of teeth.
Skin flabbiness and eyes that are dull, lustreless and drowsy may often be traced to a silicon deficiency. This mineral is found in your muscles, hair, nails, pancreas, cellular walls and all connective tissues. It joins with flourine to form tooth enamel and to build strong bones.
Good sources are:
apple cider vinegar, honey, brewer's yeast, kelp, eggs, meats, fish, nuts, fruits, sunflower seeds, green beans
Sulphur purifies and tones up the blood, and has been credited with being the "beauty mineral," because it is needed for healthy hair, nails, and skin. It helps the liver to assimilate minerals and encourages the secretion of bile.
Sulphur strengthens your blood stream and renders it more powerful to resist bacterial infection....A deficiency of sulphur may be noted by acne and poor hair and nail health.
Protein foods and the following vegetables and nuts contain sulphur:
almonds, figs, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts, garlic, mustard greens, cabbage, hazelnuts, peaches, carrots, honey, pecans, eggs, kale, radishes
The human body in good health contains more zinc than any other mineral. Zinc is present in all tissues, and is mostly localized in the thyroid gland. It is believed to be required for the effective action of vitamins B-1 (thiamine) and B-12. Moreover, it is known to be an ingredient of several enzymes in the body and also functions as an energy producer.
This mineral, not too widely known, is a vital food substance. It joins with phosphorus to improve brain health via the tissues. It is believed to stimulate action of vitamins. In particular, it aids in tissue respirationthe intake of oxygen and expulsion of carbon dioxide and toxic wastes. Insulin, the hormone, depends upon zinc for proper utilization. Zinc, too, is involved in the utilization of carbohydrates which produce body energy.
Finally, it appears to have some connection with the health of the prostate gland.
In addition to iodine, which has been discussed, the body requires the following trace minerals:
They all influence the regulation of cells, the composition of the blood, and mental vigor, and are necessary for the reproductive functions and for growth. In general, they promote beauty and long life.
These minerals are present in:
beets, honey, mushrooms, carrots, lentils, nuts, eggs, liver, peas, fish, lobster, tomatoes, fruits, meats, whole grains, green beans
The principal nutritional flaw in the diets of mature and older persons is a lack of protein, iron, and calcium in sufficient amounts. A review of this mineral section will clearly indicate that to obtain these nutrients a highprotein diet is a must.
For calcium, then, one should include in the diet bone meal, green leafy vegetables, potatoes, and yogurt. For iron, blackstrap molasses, brewer's yeast, liver, and wheat germ. For other minerals, blackstrap molasses, bone meal, eggs, honey, kelp tablets, liver, and seafoods.