Body's Internal Defenses
( Originally Published 1921 )
If we put a drop of blood under a microscope, a seemingly countless number of small corpuscles come into view. Most of them are red, but some are white. They have a well defined work to do in the defense of the body against intruding germs of disease. The white corpuscles are always present in inflamed parts, and take into themselves foreign particles in the blood, minute organisms known as bacteria. These little corpuscles are called the "soldiers" of the body; for they play a prominent part in the cure of diseases, and in their prevention in persons exposed to infection.
Together with them in the blood, in which they circulate, and as part of their structure, we find the before mentioned mineral elements — iron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, etc. This is always the case when pure blood is examined. The blood corpuscles so necessary to our welfare are never without iron; and when the iron is removed, these little warriors die. The constancy with which these mineral elements appear in the soil, in plants, in all natural foods, and in the tissues of the human body, reveals the fact that they are absolutely essential to life. In the face of this great truth, we see vast commercial enterprises built up for the sole purpose of removing them from our food. Notwithstanding this, the blame for the prevalence of disease and broken constitutions is usually thrown upon God.
When the diet is composed largely of refined foods, no matter how much nourishment the food might otherwise contain, the system cannot make the best use of such nourishment, because of the absence of those elements necessary to its assimilation. Dr. William Edward Fitch, major Medical Reserve Corps, U. S. A., says on this point:
"It is known at the present time that life cannot be maintained on foods deficient in inorganic salts. It is also recognized by research workers that something more is essential for the maintenance, growth, and well being of man than protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Unless food contains sufficient mineral matter, no matter how well balanced the ration may be in the ternary food elements, nor how large quantities are ingested, nor how high the caloric value, there will be malnutrition. In Forster's experiments, dogs and pigeons fed on demineralized food died earlier than those that were entirely deprived of food." "Dietotherapy," volume I, page 26o.
The following table is from an outline given in the same text, entitled "Analysis of Wheat and the Products of Roller Milling."
Protein Fat Starch Ash
Wheat as it enters the mill 14.18 2.61 69.94 1.91 (%)
Patent roller, high grade flour 11.20 1.00 74.70 .50
A study of this table shows that there is a substantial loss in protein in converting the wheat into white flour, a loss of more than 50% of fat, and a total loss of combined mineral matter to the extent of nearly three fourths the amount contained in the whole grain, while the proportion of starch is correspondingly greater. In these modern times, when so many of our staple foods are submitted to refining processes that in many instances remove the larger portion of these valuable minerals and vitamines (found principally in the germ and outer coverings of the seeds), it is well to understand something of the wonderful functions of food minerals in the maintenance of life and health.