On March 21, for one of my classes at Maryland University of Integrative Health, we were asked to design a booth for our nutrition expo. I joined classmates MaryJane Bembenek and Sharon Chan in preparing a booth on Minerals. We presented on why they are important and did some simple testing to help people determine if they were mineral deficient. Thank you to those who were able to make it. We had a great night speaking with lots of people from the MUIH community and others in the surrounding area.
In the coming weeks and months I hope to share with you some of the insights I gained while preparing our mineral booth. Minerals, like vitamins are needed for so many of the body’s functions. Depending on how balanced out diets are, most of the minerals we need are provided by the foods we eat.
Minerals come from the earth and from the sea. As one can imagine, there are plenty of reasons to question whether the foods we eat are providing the right amount and balance of minerals needed for our bodies to function. Modern agriculture’s focus on nitrogen fertilizers and mono-cropping can advance soil depletion which negatively affects the mineral content of the vegetables and fruits we eat. These methods can also have a negative impact on the quality of the grasses and feed that animals eat, so animal products, like meat, eggs and cheeses could have less mineral content than they once had. Sea foods – like seaweed and fish have also been negatively impacted by pollution.
In biology and history classes I am certain you’ve heard of some of the diseases that are caused by vitamin and mineral depletion – diseases like rickets, pellagra, Beriberi, scurvy and night blindness and conditions like goiter are more widely known in the less industrialized world than they would be here in the United States. But, given the diminishing quality of mineral content of our soil, and the fact that processed foods (which strip the original mineral content from foods – only to add synthetic vitamins back in), are more widely available than whole foods, we can only benefit from paying more close attention to whether we’re getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals from our foods.