Nutrition - Food Minerals
( Originally Published 1954 )
Inorganic salts are components of foods that are used for the nourishment of animals and men. As far back as the nineteenth century, food products were being analyzed, since it was then already known that chemistry was a practical science applicable to human and animal well-being. Foods were analyzed as to their different chemical element components.
Today we know much more about this important field. One fact we know is that foods grown in properly prepared soils are better products than those that are not so grown. Plant foods are synthesized from the minerals in the earth, and they are resynthesized in the bodies of grass-eating animals and humans. A better-prepared soil can produce better oranges, better tomatoes, better wheat, better potatoes, etc.
Scientists have studied the relation of food minerals to animal and human nutrition. One scientist named Kellner fed animals with food mixtures from which the minerals had been extracted, leaving only the starch, the fat and the protein. These animals died sooner than other animals who were given no food at all.
The body needs an abundance of potash, soda, lime, magnesia, iron, phosphorus and chlorine. These are found in the plant foods. Iodine, zinc, iron, and copper are also found, in very minute amounts, in some of the vegetables that are commonly used. The human body needs these minute amounts of these precious elements.
The following is a list of the common vegetables that contain these four minerals: spinach, lettuce, leeks, celery, carrots, turnips, radishes, salsify, beets, and cress.
Lime and iron are minerals that are closely associated with the proteins in vegetable tissues. In animals, the lime is chiefly found in the bones; the iron is chiefly found in the blood. When lime and iron are supplied to the body in sufficient amounts, the other vital organic minerals will also be supplied.
The percentage of organic iron in foodstuffs varies with each different food. Egg yolk is very rich in iron; so are lentils. All leafy green vegetables are very rich in good food iron. The body needs iron for the hemoglobin of the blood, which is found in the red blood cells.
There are 25,000,000,000,000 (25 trillion) red blood cells in the adult body. The life span of each red blood cell is about six weeks. During every second 7,000,000 red blood cells die and new ones are born. When plants, vegetables and fruits are grown in a poorly fertilized soil, they are sometimes anemic, somewhat as human beings are when they are poorly nourished.
When human individuals are anemic, they may have a shortage of red blood cells, the number being reduced from four and a half or five million to one or two million. Since the red blood cells are the carriers of oxygen to the tissues, the anemic person may be short of breath because he cannot inhale enough oxygen. He does not have enough red cells; therefore his body cannot assimilate enough oxygen to make him feel good and strong.
For anemic people, the best sources of iron-containing foods are green leafy vegetables, egg yolks and lentils. Medicinal iron is not as readily assimilated by the human body. Liver extract or liver sub-stance is not as easily assimilated by the anemic individual as is the organic food iron found in vegetables and egg yolk.
These statements are based on the writer's practical experience with patients who suffered from anemia. Such patients were built up successfully by extracted raw-vegetable juices, in combination with egg yolks- These mixtures proved more effective in arresting and curing pernicious anemia than the ordinary drug and medical procedures.
The entire adult body contains about forty-four grains of iron. The total weight of the body's oxygen is two-thirds of its weight. The blood is seven per cent of the total body weight. The blood contains 95 per cent of the iron, entrapping oxygen through the red cells in order to carry out waste excretions into the lungs in the form of car-bon dioxide. The lungs carry out a major portion of the body wastes- The body economy is able to carry out this vital process by means of inhaled oxygen, which is then taken by the cellular carbon wastes. The lungs carry out as much body wastes as the kidneys. The kidneys carry out some carbon wastes in the form of urea and uric acid, which arc also carbon waste compounds.
The body requires about ten to fifteen grains of lime, because lime is used as a vehicle for carrying out certain wastes from the body in the form of neutral lime salts.
The body's lime content is about 4-6 pounds- It would take nine years to exhaust all the body's lime; it would take only six weeks to exhaust all the body's iron, if the latter were not replenished by the intake of adequate food iron. The body loses daily about one-seventh of a grain of iron through excretions, whether one eats or fasts. Food iron must replace this loss.
Animals that are fed on iron-free foods die within a month. When the iron content of foods in human consumption is inadequate, disease, characterized by anemia, overwhelms the sufferer disastrously.
The iron requirement of human adults, as well as children, is not difficult to get if the food intake contains one or two glasses of freshly made green raw-vegetable juice. The raw-vegetable juice machine is being manufactured in this country and in others; yet it is not as popular in every home as it should and must become, in order to improve the health of everyone.
The yolk of an egg is an excellent source of organic food iron. The legume lentil is another fine iron food product. It contains as much iron by weight as do egg yolks. Lentils can be used for a variety of very palatable dishes (see recipes). Black olives, almonds and hazel-nuts are also comparatively good sources of organic food iron.
The following is a list of foods which contain good organic food iron:
Legumes 11.350 Greens 6.14 Eggs 5.67 Cereals 3.9 Nuts 3.49 Fruits 1.74 Milk 47 Milk products 1.46
The human dietary must include a major amount of fresh raw vegetables. These should be taken in the form of juice and salads once or twice a day- For a time, the sick must be fed raw salads in liquid form only. Steamed green vegetables are also proper foods—not over-cooked but undercooked. About half the body's daily ration of iron should be supplied from green raw salad, raw vegetable juice, and steamed green vegetables.
The root vegetables are not so rich in iron as those that ripen above the ground. Beet tops are richer in iron than beet roots. Beet tops are a very excellent addition in the making of a raw vegetable-juice "cocktail." The raw vegetable juices are very palatable when extracted together with some fresh pineapple. The pineapple is rich in the minerals such as iron, iodine, and other elements, which we need in minute quantities but which we need very much indeed.
The adult body contains four and one-half pounds of lime, which is one-half of its total mineral content and three per cent of the body weight. Ninety-nine per cent of the body lime is found in the bones and teeth; less than one per cent is in the soft tissues. Animal meat as a source of lime is therefore very poor.
The body loses ten grains of lime daily. The food intake must supply this amount, and a little more. According to Professor H. C. Sherman, half of the people of the United States suffer from lime starvation.
Lime gives solidity and strength to the bones. When the diet is deficient in lime, diseases such as rickets are the result. There are other diseases that are complicated by the body's inability to assimilate food lime. Arthritis is one of them; osteomalacia is another.
Although the muscles require only about one per cent of lime, its deficiency may cause weakness, poor development, and other diseases. The heart is a muscular organ and must have lime for its normal con-tractile function. The blood contains about eight-tenths of a grain of lime to the pint. This amount is necessary for the normal coagulating ability of the blood.
Cow's milk contains fifteen times as much lime as is contained in human milk. Infants fed on mother's milk may get a supplementary ration in a milk formula in order to make up for any lime deficiency. Lime is also necessary to normal cell growth. The daily ration of lime should be about fifteen grains, at least. This can be supplied by a pint of milk and vegetables that are comparatively rich in lime.
The fibrous vegetables such as celery, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli are all rich in lime. Milk and cheese are also good sources of lime. The body must be in good health in order to be able to assimilate food lime. There would be no shortage of lime if the diet were also adequate in iron requirements.
Those vegetables that ripen above the ground carry a high amount of lime, as well as iron, in their composition. When these two minerals are present in the food intake, every other mineral element will also be present in needed amounts.
In order properly to assimilate the food minerals, the body must be as free from cellular and tissue wastes as possible. When the body is free of these wastes, it will also be able properly to assimilate the necessary oxygen from the air by adequate respiration or breathing. In a sense, air is food that is essential to life and health. It is there-fore necessary to practice deep breathing with open window and, as often as possible, to get outdoors in the open air. The sick recover much more quickly and successfully from the acute and chronic diseases if they are provided with well-ventilated rooms at home or in hospitals. This fresh-air requirement is not always met.
Oxygen is very often used in concentrated form for heart-disease sufferers. Oxygen might well be used in cases of pernicious anemia and in cases of other diseases that are characterized by anemia. Cancer is one such disease. Oxygen would help the sufferer enjoy life more comfortably; it may also prolong the life of the cancer patient in the late and incurable stages.
Sunshine is necessary to the healthy and sick body. The solar spectrum contains ultra-violet rays. The food minerals and vitamins of the daily food intake are assimilated better when the nude body is exposed to sunlight or to a lamp of ultra-violet light.
When food intake is planned to contain raw-vegetable salad once or twice a day, raw green vegetable juices twice to four times a day, one or two eggs or egg yolks a day, and two or more glasses of freshly made orange juice, grapefruit juice and raw pineapple juice a day, there will not be any vitamin shortage.
Vitamins in pill and injectable forms can hardly be as potent as vitamins found in the composition of fresh raw vital foods. Foods that are stored in packages, in cans, or in concentrated frozen forms are hardly as potent as the fresh varieties. Food economists, the single person, the housewife, the institutional food craftsman, or even the physician or surgeon who prescribes diets, should bear in mind this fact: Fresh raw fruits and vegetables and fresh raw milk and fresh eggs are richer sources of vitamins than stale and stored products.
There are certain products containing rich sources of the B vitamins, such as dry beans, peas and lentils as well as the grain products, which are not destroyed by aging or storage. Vitamins A, C and D are best obtained from fresh fruits and vegetables. The body can assimilate foods best when it is free from fatigue and weakness.