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Meditation and Health – The Healing Value of Minerals and Trace Elements

The Healing Value of Minerals and Trace Elements

If you suffer from anxiety or depression and visit our channel regularly, you will know that you are not alone if you suffer from stress of any sort – according to the mental health charity Mind, 1 in 6 people in England experience anxiety or depression in any given week.

Meditation and music are well-known to help relieve both anxiety and related digestion problems, but a healthy diet containing sufficient vitamins and minerals can also help your body manage stress better.

The importance of vitamins and minerals
Research continues into the effects of some trace elements like boron and chromium, but we now know the importance of most vitamins and minerals, the best quantities and combinations to maintain a healthy lifestyle and the effects of a lack of these essential ingredients on our lives.

Electrolytes
Minerals are often talked about as electrolytes – substances that conduct electricity when they dissolve in water.  In food and drink, electrolytes are present as essential minerals – the most important being potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium and chloride.

When levels of electrolytes in the blood become too high or too low, this causes an electrolyte imbalance.  Electrolyte levels change in relation to water levels in the body.  The kidneys, along with hormones, regulate the concentration of each electrolyte and filter high levels from the body.  Hormones act to restore a balance.

So, it is also important to drink sufficient water each day to help the body maintain the correct electrolyte balance. Opinions differ on how much water we need but generally around 2 litres a day is sufficient – and this includes tea and coffee.  We get an average of 20 per cent of the water we need from the food we eat.

Vitamins and Minerals work together
Getting vitamins and minerals from fresh food can be more beneficial than taking supplements.  Trace elements work alongside vitamins and minerals, helping them carry out important functions, e.g. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, and boron is essential in the conversion of vitamin D to its active form.  So, in order for vitamins and minerals to work effectively, we need to eat them together – and nature is very clever at providing fresh foods that contain a package of elements that complement each other.

Natural sources of minerals are better
Supplements that isolate individual ingredients are unlikely to be as effective as eating vitamins and minerals together in their natural form, providing a balance of ingredients that all work together to keep you healthy.

Tablets can help correct deficiencies, and can certainly help as we get older, but a balanced diet containing lots of fresh vegetables (particularly leafy greens like kale and spinach) and herbs is the best way to maintain a healthy body.

Vitamins and minerals are essential to keep us healthy
As we learned in the last blog post, herbs have long been used medicinally to cure ailments, but why they worked was never really understood and therefore commonly attributed to witchcraft.  Now, however, we do know why many vitamins and minerals are essential to keep us healthy, and why trace elements like boron, chromium, copper, molybdenum, manganese, nickel, selenium, iodine, and zinc are vital.

The value of Chromium
It has now been established that chromium is key in preventing the onset of Type II diabetes and also helps to control weight.  Chromium increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin and controls blood sugar levels. Highly refined western diets are blamed for an increase in Type II diabetes and a lack of sufficient trace elements in processed foods and commercially grown foods undoubtedly contributes to this.

Organic foods grown using regenerative agriculture, cultivate healthy soil, which produces healthy plants – and healthy animals and vegetables that contain many more natural trace elements than commercially grown foods.

A brief overview of the minerals our bodies need is listed below but, if we eat a balanced diet of fresh meat, fruit, nuts and vegetables, we should be getting all the nutrients our body needs to be healthy and to protect it from disease.  If we eat organic food, then this increases the benefits of the food we eat.

Boron, a relatively newly discovered essential trace mineral, is still not fully understood, but it appears to help protect against calcium loss and activates oestrogen and vitamin D which slow demineralisation of bone.  It may also play a role in blood regulation and protects against osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

Found in:  Nuts, raisins, dates, prunes, lentils.  Mainly in organic sources.

Calcium is really important in bone and teeth development.  It regulates heartbeat and blood pressure and helps blood clotting. It is important in nerve communication – regulating the brain’s neurotransmitters (or messaging system).  Calcium needs an adequate level of Vitamin D in the body in order to function.  It also works closely with magnesium to support functions in the blood, nerves and muscles.

A diet high in fizzy drinks which contain phosphoric acid, can imbalance calcium.

Found in:  Dairy products, leafy vegetables, fish like sardines (which contain bones).

Chromium is an essential part of something called Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF) which is thought to bind the hormone insulin to cell receptors helping to regulate glucose and blood sugar metabolism.  It regulates carbohydrate metabolism and is essential for effective insulin function.  Both chromium and GTF are used to correct blood sugar when it’s out of balance, key in preventing the onset of Type ll diabetes but also helping to control weight. Additionally, better blood sugar balance is associated with sustained energy production.  Chromium is also useful in conjunction with Vitamin B3 (niacin), which is also part of GTF, in reducing cholesterol levels.

Found in:  Most natural foods (particularly organic foods), wholewheat bread, wholewheat foods, liver, eggs, organic vegetables.

Copper is essential for metabolic processes, energy production, healthy bones, and the formation of haemoglobin (the key oxygen-carrying molecule in the blood).  It is an antioxidant and enzyme activator.  It is anti-inflammatory – hence the traditional use of copper bracelets for arthritis – copper reacts with fatty acids in the skin to form copper salts.  It is also essential for iron absorption.

Found in:  Most natural foods, seafood (particularly oysters), liver, wholegrains, nuts, soy beans, dark green leafy vegetables.

Iodine helps make the thyroid hormones that keep cells and metabolic rate healthy; needed for nerve and bone formation, healthy hair, skin and nails and brain development – key to the development of the brain during childhood. The thyroid hormone controls many of the body processes and influences all body systems.

Found in:  White fish, shellfish (particularly oysters), dairy products, eggs, kelp* (a type of seaweed), dandelions.

Iron maintains a healthy blood circulation system, it helps the body make red blood cells carrying oxygen around the body, it also contributes to energy production (which is why iron deficiency causes tiredness).

It is absorbed better if eaten with foods containing Vitamin C – such as citrus fruits.

Found in: Red meat, liver, kidney, eggs, green leafy vegetables.

Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s natural tranquiliser’ because it helps to relax skeletal muscle and muscles within the gastrointestinal tract. It is critical to cellular functions, energy production and protein formation.  It maintains healthy nerves and muscles and boosts the immune system.  It is just as important as calcium for strong bones and teeth.

Found in:  Green leafy vegetables, nuts, wholegrains, seafood and kelp*

Manganese helps to regulate substances in the body like amino acids, cholesterol and glucose, as well as promoting bone growth and helping the immune response.  It is essential for many enzyme reactions, including blood sugar balance, energy and thyroid function.  It helps protect cells from free radical damage and manages inflammation.

Found in:  Nuts (particularly pecan nuts), oats and wholewheat.

Phosphorus contributes to many essential regulatory functions in our bodies. Important in bone development and conversion of nutrients into energy.  It is found in all cells in the body and therefore involved at some level in most biochemical reactions.  It works in tandem with vitamin D and the body needs the correct calcium to phosphorus ratio to work effectively.

Found in:  Many foods, particularly protein-rich foods, but phosphorus is much more easily absorbed from meat and fish.

Potassium is an essential element that guarantees the proper body fluid regulation – water balance; needed for the function of muscles and nerves, kidneys and adrenal glands.  It keeps the heart healthy and functioning correctly.

Needs sodium and chloride to work effectively.

Large amounts of potassium can be lost during prolonged exercise which is one of the reasons we often see athletes and marathon-runners eating bananas.

Found in:  Most fruits and vegetables, particularly avocados and bananas.  Surprisingly, dried fruits contain higher levels than fresh.

Chloride interacts with sodium and potassium to help regulate the volume of the water in the body and the types of nutrients going in and out of cells, it maintains proper pH levels, stimulates stomach acid needed for digestion, stimulates the action of nerve and muscle cells, and facilitates the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs and throughout the body.

Found in:  Small amounts occur in all natural foods, but chloride is usually added to our diet as salt in cooking.  Our bodies only need one teaspoon (5g) of salt each day and processed foods often contain more than this.  Too much salt contributes to high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

Selenium Although only a trace element and needed in small amounts, Selenium is essential as part of the body’s most powerful antioxidant enzyme helping to protect the body from free radical damage and age-related degenerative diseases.  Selenium works closely with Vitamin E to carry out antioxidant and immune-boosting functions, it is key to healthy sperm production, and needed for efficient thyroid hormone production and function.

The selenium content of soil affects the amount of selenium in the plants that animals eat – and consequently the amount of selenium in animal products.  Commercial farming processes in low-mineral soils that deplete trace elements cause selenium deficiencies resulting in poor immunity, a greater susceptibility to degenerative diseases, inflammatory problems, reduced male fertility and skin conditions such as eczema.

Found in:  Brazil nuts, whole wheat foods, brown rice, oats, organic meat.

Zinc is often called ‘The King of the Minerals’.  It is responsible for maintaining a robust immune system as well as guaranteeing optimal tissue development and nutrient processing.  Zinc makes new cells and enzymes, processes carbohydrates, fat and protein and helps the healing of wounds.  Essential for reproduction, healthy eyes, hair, skin and nails.

Zinc supports the immune system by increasing the activity of natural killer cells which help to fight against viruses. Zinc also helps the body use vitamin A, needed for healthy skin.

Found in:  Seafood (particularly oysters), red meat, liver, eggs, dairy products, wholegrains and beans, more easily absorbed from animal products than vegetables.

*Kelp is a type of large brown seaweed that grows in shallow, nutrient-rich seawater.  Because it absorbs nutrients from its surrounding marine environment, kelp is rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements.  It is available dried from health food shops.

Kelp contains: Vitamin K1, Folate (the natural form of vitamin B9), Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Calcium.

Convenience Foods
Our bodies will cope with convenience food, processed foods, commercially grown foods and fast food occasionally, but these foods do not provide everything that our bodies need – and they often contain too much salt and sugar and much less of the vital vitamins, minerals and trace elements that keep us healthy.

A balanced diet containing natural, fresh organic foods will provide all the nutrients our body needs to be healthy and to protect it from disease.

 

#TraceElements #minerals #vitamins #electrolytes #kelp

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