Chapter 1 – Why Fuss Over Minerals?
Minerals compose approximately 4% of the human body. We cannot create minerals within our bodies, so we must get them from our food. Minerals ultimately come from the earth and eventually return to the earth after being consumed by us. 45% of rich traditional soil is composed of minerals. Yet today’s soil has been altered and depleted because of man made fertilizers, mono-cropping, constant usage that doesn’t allow for minerals to bounce back, and more.
Minerals are all that remain in ash form when plant or animal tissues are burned. Roughly 5 pounds of ash are all that is left from a cremated body.
Of the 103 known minerals, at least 18 are mandatory for good health, yet mineral imbalance and deficiency is epidemic.
Major Essential Minerals – Can’t Leave Home Without Them!
Certain minerals are considered “major” because the body needs them in doses of 100 mg/day or greater; i.e. greater than 0.01% of body weight.
They are: Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sulfur, Chloride, Sodium and Phosphorus.
Vegetarians must pay even closer attention to them, where they are found and in what amounts because they are eating from fewer food groups.
Let’s take a closer look at these major minerals starting with calcium (followed by the rest in later chapters), as they are the underpinning of your health.
Calcium is possibly the most important of all the essential minerals for human health. Why? Because it enables muscle contraction, blood clotting, blood vessel contraction and expansion, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and sending messages through the nervous system.
Over 99% of the calcium in your body is found in your bones and teeth where it is a pivotal component that gives structure. Yet calcium has many other roles, but for many of them it must get inside your cells first. How? Chemicals, like hormones, let calcium inside cells.
Once inside the cells, calcium:
- Helps insulin open cells up to glucose
- Assists the release of chemicals that transmit a signal from a nerve cell to a target cell (for example, when a nerve tells a muscle to move)
- Assists the actual process of contraction of the muscle cell
- Facilitates fertilization with the movement of sperm into an egg.
Bone is made by cells that construct a ‘scaffold’ with proteins. Calcium and phosphorous combine to form crystal on top of this scaffold, and is integral to give your bone added strength.