It is said that all health begins and ends in the digestive tract. It is also said that many diseases are caused by a lack of vital nutrients in our diets.
If our digestive tracts are not functioning properly, we can’t digest the nutrients from the foods we eat, including essential minerals needed for health.
Minerals are critical to almost every function in our bodies, and the lack thereof can cause many symptoms people believe are “normal” or may even ignore because they get too busy to deal with the problem. Some of these include loss of appetite, fatigue, headache, muscle tension, anxiety, nausea, inability to focus or irritability.
We are more mineral depleted than people living just 100 years ago due to the increased population and prevalence of mechanized, commercial, and industrial farming methods. Chemical processes remove quality and quantity of the nutrients found in our soils, the source of life.
These farming methods may produce bigger quantities of food, but the quality and nutritional value of foods overall has diminished greatly. When you eat conventional and processed foods, you are eating dead foods with many of the nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, co-factors, and beneficial bacteria removed and then synthetic versions of vitamins and minerals are added back in. These synthetic versions are not something our bodies recognize and they can actually cause issues such as overdosing and storage of toxins in our bodies that can lead to chronic health disorders.
Most diseases and health conditions can be improved or eliminated by making sure you get enough nutrients – and in particular – minerals in your diet.
If you’re looking to increase minerals in your diet naturally, you can eliminate or improve many health issues including weight issues, insomnia, mood and behavior disorders, adrenal fatigue, inability to deal with stress, ability to focus, increased levels of energy and wellness, and many more.
I have had health issues for years that were greatly improved and eliminated with careful attention to mineral-rich, real food sources. Read my post on how GAPS helped me with panic, anxiety, and insomnia when nothing else I tried for nearly 20 years did.
Some of the most digestible foods that are high in minerals include liquid foods. These foods are easily absorbed by those with digestive compromise (which includes most everyone). Most people are affected by this issue due to poor lifestyle and dietary habits that have been maintained for longer than a short period of time.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite foods for increasing mineral intake:
- Nettles – calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc. This is one of the easiest ways to increase your mineral intake, and can be made in about 5 minutes. I make nettles every day, and my whole family drinks them. According to Susun Weed, stinging nettles “strengthens adrenal functioning, promotes sound sleep, increases overall energy, prevents allergic reactions, strengthens the blood vessels, and prevents hair loss.”
- Bone broths – zinc, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and others and will vary on the source of the bones you are using. Minerals are not heat sensitive and will transfer into your broth while cooking. Bone broths support digestion, immunity, help eliminate cellulite, promote sound sleep, nourishes skin, tendons, joints, ligaments, bones, and mucous membranes. Donna Gates of Body Ecology agrees that bone broths are one of the foundations of health and that they support digestion, immunity, help eliminate cellulite, promote sound sleep, nourishes skin, tendons, joints, ligaments, bones, and mucous membranes.
- Sea salt – calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, boron, and many trace minerals. Drink in water daily or add to just about any food or other beverage you consume. Salt is absolutely vital to health, and despite what conventional health “experts” say, it supports many components of our health such as vascular, sinus, reproductive and sexual health, promotes healthy ph in our cells (especially brain cells), digestion and absorption of food in the small intestine, bones and muscles, hydroelectric energy in the body, adrenal glands which regulate over 50 bodily functions, regulation of metabolic processes and sleep. Refined salt, full of caking agents and color agents, and which is stripped of vital trace minerals to leave mostly sodium chloride, a deadly poison to the body. Refined salt is what you’ll find in restaurants and grocery stores, but it’s the substance that should be getting the blame for health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, edema, allergic reactions, and many others.
- Kelp – calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iodine, and many trace minerals such as copper, boron, and selenium. Use powdered or dried kelp in soups, stews, smoothies. You can also sprinkle it on any other foods like casseroles or main dishes. Promotes brain and mental function, supports thyroid and endocrine health, relieves anxiety and nervous energy, boosts energy for daily tasks, and promotes sleep.
- Fermented and cultured foods – home-made yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream and other dairy foods, kombucha, dairy and water kefir, kvass, cultured vegetables, fruits, meats, depending on the strains of probiotics or friendly bacteria present in the fermented foods you eat, you will also experience an increase in the nutrients present including a wide variety of minerals. (Vitamin Profiles of Kefirs Made from Milk of Different Species. International Journal of Food Science & Technology. 1991. Kneifel et al). Health benefits: reduces the risk of cancer, supports cardiovascular health, digestion, immunity, brain function, bones and joints, and
- Pastured meats and poultry, and especially organ meats – magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, selenium, and iodine depending on where the animals/birds graze or forage.
- Pastured dairy – raw milk and other dairy foods like cream, butter, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and kefir, contain 3-5 times the amount of minerals found in factory farm/feedlot milk. Rich in colloidal minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sometimes iodine depending on the source of minerals found in the soil where the cows you get milk from graze.
- Fish and other seafood from safe sources – magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium. Seafood is one of the most rich sources of minerals to be found.
- Organic fruits and vegetables – calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc, (best eaten with healthy fats like cream, butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or fermented or cultured).
- Magnesium oil – we absorb nutrients through our skin even more efficiently than our digestive tracts, and when our digestive tracts are compromised, absorbing through the skin is a good alternative to consuming foods we may not be able to digest well.
- Epsom salt baths – my favorite brand is Remarkable Redwood Remedies. This salt is high in magnesium chloride and is ideal for transdermal absorption (via the skin). Good source of magnesium and other trace minerals.
- Filtered water with minerals – tap water (and likely bottled water) is contaminated with PCBs, lead, chlorine, fluoride, and other harmful chemicals. If you can find a good source of mineral water, this is another important source of minerals in the diet. If you can’t find a good source of mineral water, consider a water filter. We use Berkey Filters and love them. These filters do remove chlorine and other harmful contaminants, but not fluoride.
- Liquid minerals – if you are still not getting enough minerals in your diet, you may consider a good brand of liquid minerals. Honestly, I’ve used many brands of minerals and not found anything better than Dr. Morter’s Best Process Trace Minerals. I always list any supplement as a last choice because it’s best to get minerals and other nutrients from real food. Since many people are grossly deficient in these elements due to compromised health issues and lack of minerals in the soil and food we eat today. These can easily be added to drinking water, soups, stews, smoothies, juice, or kombucha and other beverages or foods.