Insufficient Nutrition Can Be Robbing Your Optimal Healthby Kelly R. Smith
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So what exactly are nutraceuticals? According to Dictionary.com, they are, “a bioactive compound occurring as a food component, additive, or product, including vitamins, dietary fiber, herbal extracts, carotenoids, and probiotics: nutraceuticals are said to promote health and well-being, allegedly helping in the prevention and treatment of disease.”1
So basically, these include dietary supplements as well as basic foods. Ideally, we would get all necessary minerals and nutrients via the food groups but this is rarely the case due to lifestyle. You may have assumed that since minerals are in so many foods you are in the safe zone. Not so; in many cases strict vegans and even borderline vegetarians may be missing out on important trace minerals and the ones in your multi-vitamin may not be as high-quality as you suppose.
Calcium for Strong Bones, Teeth, and Heart
Calcium is one of the most important and abundant minerals in our bodies. WebMD.com says, “Calcium is a mineral that is an essential part of bones and teeth. The heart, nerves, and blood-clotting systems also need calcium to work. Calcium-rich foods include milk and dairy products, kale and broccoli, as well as the calcium-enriched citrus juices, mineral water, canned fish with bones, and soy products processed with calcium. Calcium is also taken as a supplement.”2 Which foods are calcium-rich? According to Kidshealth.org,3
- Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice, cereals and, crackers
- Canned salmon, anchovies, and sardines with bones
- Green leafy vegetables like kale, Swiss chard, and broccoli
Potassium for Your Nervous System
Potassium keeps your muscles and your nervous system working properly and minimizes the possibility of cramps. Your blood and bodily tissues, including muscles, contain water. Potassium helps ensure that the quantity of water is optimized between cells and body fluids; it performs a balancing act. You can find it in:
- Legumes, such as beans, split peas, lentils
- Bananas, tomatoes
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes, with skin intact
- Green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli
Zinc for Your Immune System
We all know the importance of our immune systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, this mineral gives a powerful boost to your immune system. This system fights off common illnesses and infections. It is also involved cellular growth and assists in healing wounds, such as cuts. It is found in:
- A variety of nuts including cashews, pecans, walnuts, and almonds
- Legumes, such as peanuts, split peas, and lentils
- Cuts of meats such as beef, pork, and chicken
The Strength of Iron
Our bodies utilize the mineral iron to transport oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. This is a critical function because our bodies depend on oxygen to maintain life. Iron also assists in the production of hemoglobin. This is the component in our red blood cells that moves oxygen throughout our bodies. Get your iron in:
- By cooking in cast iron cookware
- Dried fruits like apricots and raisins
- Whole and enriched grains like quinoa, wheat, and oats
- Various cuts of meat, particularly red meat like liver or beef
Steps for Good Health
All the minerals listed above originated in the earth and seas and got into the food chain that way. Research shows that the mineral depletion in the soil was about 85% during the years from 1900 to 1940.
Adding specific soil amendments in organic farming programs has made a measure of progress in bringing soil health back from the brink. Unfortunately, chemical techniques are still applied to most crops and meats found in your local grocery store. To maximize your health goals:
- Take your supplements daily.
- Purchase organic produce and free range meat whenever possible. Yes, you’ll pay a bit more but mineral and nutrient deficiencies cost even more in the long run.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity puts stress and strain on your body and impacts your overall health. Intermittent fasting for weight loss and maintenance is a great strategy for most people.
- Consume fresh, local fruits and produce. They generally taste better and as a bonus they support your local economy which impacts you directly.
Getting enough minerals in your diet with healthy foods and supplements is not difficult. It might take a slight alteration in your lifestyle but you’ll be happier in the long run.
- Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/nutraceutical?s=t
- WebMD.com, Calcium, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-781/calcium
- Mary l. Gavin M.D., Kidshealth.org, Minerals, https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/minerals.html
Further Reading and Relevant Recipes
- Egg Spinach Pie Recipe
- 10 Signs of Nutrient Deficiency
- Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Synbiotics; What Does It All Mean?
- How Health Care Systems Use Clinical Empathy to Support Patients
- Should Runners and Others Supplement with CoQ10?
- Raw Tuscan Kale Salad Recipe
- Creamy Potato Gratin Recipe
- Creamy Parmesan Basil Chicken Recipe
- The Health Benefits of Quinoa
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