Abroad spectrum of basic vitamins, minerals and micronutrients are required to fuel the thousands of functions of the human body. Food from the earth is, and has always been, the original source of nutrition for all life forms. Vitamin- rich foods can cure diseases related to vitamin deficiency. Oranges and limes were famously shown to prevent scurvy in vitamin-deprived 18th century sailors. And research has long shown that populations that eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, tend to be healthier than others.
Since the miracle of life first appeared here, at least 3.77 billion years ago, Earth has generously provided a boundless cornucopia of nutrient-dense plant foods and clean animal protein for all life forms to subsist. Foods from nature and proteins are information for our DNA and cells.
However, despite Mother Earth’s abundant food supply, research reveals Americans are significantly vitamin deficient. Several factors for the “well fed but undernourished” epidemic sweeping our super-sized nation include: high intakes of dead, processed foods, GMOs, and animal products from factory farms. Also to blame are declining levels of nutrients in our soils due to mono-crop farming and the increasing prevalence of chronic health conditions that influence nutrient needs.
The quantity and quality of vitamins and minerals in fresh, raw plant foods depend on their variety, growing conditions, weather, timing of harvest, genetic modification, and storage conditions. Even dietary supplements may contain slightly more or less than the amount shown on the label, so due diligence is advised. Visit your locally owned vitamin groceries and make friends with their vitamin specialists.
In biological terms, homeostasis refers to the ability of the body to maintain a stable internal environment despite changes in external conditions. The stability, or balance, attained is called a dynamic equilibrium; that is, as changes occur, the body works to maintain relatively uniform conditions. This is our birthright of optimum, disease-free holistic health.
Livestrong.com states: “To
contribute to the overall physical
equilibrium that sustains life, each
system must meet its metabolic needs
through the nutrition from food. Clean,
dietary protein, unrefined carbs, and
healthy fats that supply both caloric
energy and elements such as amino
acids used to form cells. Compounds in
dietary minerals and vitamins may act
as hormones or catalysts in reactions
needed for body functions, such as the
regulation of blood pressure.”
The human body requires significant amounts of the macro- minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, chloride and phosphorus, and small amounts of the trace minerals iron, copper, zinc, iodine, inorganic fluoride and selenium to complete its metabolic processes.
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia says there are thirteen vitamins considered essential because the human body does not produce enough or any, including A, C, D, E, K and the group of B vitamins— thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B-6, folate, B-12, pantothenic acid and biotin. A balanced diet of various fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, beans, meats, fish and dairy products will supply adequate minerals and vitamins. Unquestionably, it’s hard in this modern world to eat enough produce to receive the basics, and supplementation is necessary. Today’s produce contains 50% less nutrition than it did a short 50 years ago.
What should I have in a healthy kitchen?
Foods high in vitamin A (beta carotene) are fresh or frozen, not canned carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cantaloupe, and apricots. Basically, yellow and orange produce.
Foods high in vitamins B-6, B-12, and B-9 are essential for proper nerve and brain function, the synthesis of DNA, metabolism, and the formation of red blood cells include clean local meat, poultry and fish, including seafood, mussels and oysters, local eggs, and real milk. Many nut milks are fortified with these crucial B vitamins.
Foods high in vitamin D: vitamin D is unique, in that on top of absorbing it from foods we eat, our body can also synthesize it from sunlight. It’s critical for the health of your bones and immune system, as well as calcium absorption. According to the National Cancer Institute, it may also help lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Though just 15 minutes in sunshine is by far the richest source of vitamin D, don’t overdo it. More is definitely NOT better. Foods that provide vitamin D include some salmon, herring, catfish, trout, and oysters, real milk, local eggs, shiitake, and fortified nut milks.
Foods high in antioxidant vitamin E and E supplements may prevent coronary heart disease, support immune function, prevent inflammation, promote eye health, and lower the risk of cancer, according to MedicalNewsToday.com. E also helps the body use vitamin K and repair muscle cells. Examples are sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, bell peppers and asparagus.
Foods high in vitamin K, critical for the formation of blood clots. Without it, we could bleed to death from a simple cut. It may also help maintain bone strength in older adults. Foods particularly high in vitamin K include kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, turnip greens, and mustard greens, romaine, parsley, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus.
For 84 different trace minerals and micro-nutrients, switch to pink Himalayan pink salt rather than grocery iodized salt. Himalayan salt comes from ancient sea salt deposits in the Himalayan Mountains of Pakistan. Himalayan doesn’t contain iodine, so seek a third party approved supplement. Sublingual is considered the most efficient delivery system.
As a more natural alternative less processed than regular sea salt, Himalayan pink salt has a constellation of health benefits. Himalayan pink salt contains more than 84 naturally- occurring minerals and trace elements, all essential to maintaining good health. Pink Himalayan salt contains twice as much magnesium as sea salt. Magnesium is used by the body to maintain nerve and muscle function, as well as for regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Himalayan pink salt contains over three times more potassium than sea salt. Potassium is one of the most important minerals in the body.
Calcium is another mineral found in Himalayan pink salt. Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth, and keeps our heart, muscles and nerves functioning properly. And, some studies show calcium could protect against high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer. Cleveland Clinic shares that the best sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified beverages such as nut milks. Calcium is also found in dark-green leafy vegetables, dried peas and beans, fish with bones, and calcium-fortified juices and cereals.
Iron is the most common deficiency in the world: Himalayan salt also contains iron, however it’s important to consume a variety of sources of iron. Beans and lentils, organic, non-GMO, tofu, baked potatoes, cashews, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, chard, non-sugared, fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, whole-grain and enriched breads.
Chef Wendell is an inspirational speaker, syndicated writer, and author who shares his science-supported message of the mind-body benefits of a plant- based diet and lifestyle, and that disease is not necessarily your fault. Visit ChefWendell.com for more information.