Missing the trace mineral magnesium in your diet can lead to a host of chronic health disorders that are often misdiagnosed. Magnesium is required in over 350 different enzymes, plus hundreds of essential functions in the body. In her informative book, The Miracle of Magnesium, Dr. Carolyn Dean writes that there has been a gradual decline of dietary magnesium in the United States, from a high of 500 mg/day at the turn of the century to barely 175-225 mg/day in 2010. Recommended dose for women over 30 years of age can be 320 mg per day.
Much of the cause for this decline has been linked to industrial farming and food processing. If the soil we grow our food in is lacking essential minerals, than the vegetables, grains, fruits, beans, legumes, seeds, and nuts are lacking those minerals as well. A hefty percentage of magnesium is also lost when removing the bran from grains in the refining process.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, Americans are critically lacking in adequate amounts of magnesium with men receiving only 80 percent of the recommended daily allowance and women receiving only 70 percent. This lack of magnesium can lead to a list of common health disorders. The irony is that many of the pharmaceutical drugs used to treat these conditions only deplete magnesium and other essential minerals further. If you suffer from any of these health conditions or know of someone who does, consult your doctor and have your levels of magnesium checked. Taking supplemental magnesium and eating foods high in the mineral can help to reverse these conditions.
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By Michelle Schoffro Cook for Care2.com
Minerals are essential in cancer prevention. Here are 5 of the top cancer-prevention minerals:
1. Calcium: A proven protector against colon cancer, this mineral is integral for maintaining the health of bones and teeth, blood clotting, and cellular metabolism. Excellent sources of calcium include: nuts and seeds, carrot juice, dark green vegetables, salmon and sardines.
2. Iodine: This mineral is found in sea vegetables like kelp, dulse, and Celtic sea salt. It helps protect the body from breast cancer and is required for energy and the growth and repair of healthy tissues.
3. Magnesium: This mineral protects against cancer in general, maintains the pH balance of the blood, as well as aids the formation of your body’s genetic material RNA and DNA. While damaged genetic material can put you at risk for cancer, magnesium helps with the repair work. It is found in many foods, including: nuts, fish, brown rice, whole grains, and green vegetables.
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Although iron is classified as a trace mineral, it’s essential for overall health. Many of the body’s functions rely on iron and if you get too little, your body can’t function properly. On the flip side, getting too much can also be detrimental to your health.
There are two main types of iron; heme and non-heme. Heme iron is the type found in meat, poultry and fish. Non-heme, on the other hand, can be found in both plant and animal sources. The biggest difference between the two types is how well the body absorbs them. Heme iron is much more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron, yet most of our dietary supply comes from non-heme sources. Enriched breads and cereals, lentils, legumes, dark leafy greens, and some dried fruits are foods rich in this type of iron. Although the iron found in these foods is typically harder to absorb, your can improve your body’s absorption rate by pairing your non-heme-rich food sources with a food high in heme iron, vitamin C, citric or lactic acid, and certain sugars.
Most of the body’s iron is found within two proteins: hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is found in the body’s red blood cells while myoglobin is found in the muscle cells. In both, iron helps accept, carry, and release oxygen to the cells of the body. In addition, iron keeps your immune system strong and helps your body produce energy.
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Here in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food safety. Denmark’s equivalent to that is the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, also known as the DVFA. Stateside, we tend to think of extra vitamins as a positive thing but in Denmark, vitamin fortified food is a diet-don’t. The DVFA has made it clear that their stance on fortifying foods with vitamins and minerals is one of suspicion and concern.
The theory held within the DVFA is that a properly balanced diet negates the necessity for supplementing with extra vitamins. In fact, they believe so strongly in the dangers of vitamin and mineral overdose that fortified foods must first be approved through a pricey application process. Foods found to contain what the DVFA classifies as dangerous levels of fortification are not granted approval.
Among the products recently pulled from the shelves of a small Copenhagen store is Ovaltine. At my home, we use Ovaltine as a chocolate milk treat because it’s nutrient enriched- I feel a lot better about that decision as opposed to pouring a giant glob of chocolate flavored syrup in to my son’s cup. What strikes me as particularly odd is that Ovaltine hasn’t yet been granted shelf-space and yet Red Bull (with its copious amounts of both vitamins and caffeine) has, according to the New York Times.
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