When habitats are plentiful, virtually all animals on the planet are pictures of health. But even on the healthiest diets, our nutritional requirements seem so difficult to manage. Are we aliens? Meeting our human nutritional needs is so complicated it's enough to make you scream!
Sure, we can blame our Doritos addiction for a whole bunch of things…but doesn't it seem like there's more to the situation? The answer may lie in our mineral intake…or, rather, lack thereof. In fact, mineral deficiencies can be connected to many of our modern health problems.
But minerals are in so many foods, so how is that possible, you ask.
Diet definitely plays a factor. While those flavorful Doritos and colas may seem like they must be offering our bodies something useful, the truth is they can actually be depleting the body of minerals. Processed foods high in sugar cause the body to expel magnesium without properly metabolizing it, first.
Research has also connected mineral deficiencies with certain prescription drugs including antibiotics, aspirin, chelating agents, anticonvulsants and antidiabetic oral medications.
Even if you eat healthy, organic foods and don't take any prescription medications, you may still find yourself void of key minerals due to decreasing mineral presence in our soil. Minerals can quickly become depleted in soil that's been over tilled and heavily treated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Research shows mineral depletion in our soil from 1900 to 1940 was about 85 percent! Scientific research into the superior health of organic versus nonorganic foods also suggests that while there are distinct health advantages to organic food, the decline of minerals in our soil also impacts organic options.
Symptoms of mineral deficiency run the gammut from acute skin conditions such as dermatitis and acne, poor eyesight, bad breath to more severe issues including heart conditions and even cancer.
So, how to make sure you're getting those important minerals in your diet?
- Start by eliminating or greatly reducing your processed food habit—even the organic stuff and especially the stuff that include claims like: "Now with calcium!"
- Choose organic. You increase your own health by avoiding toxic foods treated with chemicals, and that's actually really important—the healthier your immune system is the better it can perform functions like absorbing minerals.
- Eat fresh and local fruits and vegetables—not only do they taste better and support your local economy—they're fresher, and that means less time to allow vital nutrients to disappear. Same goes for meat, eggs and dairy—choose local, organically raised options.
- Make sure you're getting healthy fats like olive and coconut oil, and get those omega-3s from flax, hemp and chia seeds. They're loaded with nutrients that your body needs. "Bad" saturated fats can have the opposite effect!
- Get tested. If you're anything like me, you'll do anything to avoid a visit to the doctor. But those check-ups can help us catch diseases early on and prevent serious problems. You can have your physician run some tests on mineral levels so you know what needs adjusted.
- Supplement. In the case that you do have a mineral deficiency, it might be wise to boost up with a high quality nutritional supplement while you adjust your diet. This can prevent the onset of serious illnesses and works faster than diet alone. Look for food-based mineral supplements.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
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