Trace Minerals: Essential to a Healthy Body

From the hair on your head to the bones that support you and the blood that runs through you, your body relies on minerals for optimal health. Minerals are broken into two categories: macrominerals and trace minerals. Since the body cannot make minerals, we must get them from food or water.

Many foods and vitamin formulas contain the major macrominerals, such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. The challenge is trace minerals, such as selenium, copper, manganese and molybdenum. There are over seventy known trace minerals, many of which scientists continue to study to understand the critical role they play in human health. These are not commonly added to vitamin-mineral formulas.

There was a time when non-processed foods, like dark leafy greens (and others), provided all the minerals we need. But today, that’s not the case. According to The US Department of Agriculture and other researchers our food remains relatively stable in terms of vitamins but deficient in minerals, particularly trace minerals, which we need for optimal health.

Symptoms of mineral deficiencies are varied and can surface at any time. They can include:

  • GI issues: constipation, bloating, diarrhea, poor digestion
  • Poor immune function
  • Impaired cognitive function: memory, learning, brain fog
  • Muscle issues: pain, spasms, cramping, weakness
  • Heart issues
  • Generalized pain, weakness or fatigue
  • Developmental delays or behavioral issues

So, how do we address this dilemma? Eat healthy, non-processed foods, especially dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes and lean proteins. Supplement with a good quality multiple vitamin and mineral formula (macrominerals) and use a separate trace mineral formula. Trace minerals are acquired from the mineral rich waters found in certain oceans and seas around the globe such as the Great Salt Lake and the Australian Ocean. They can also be plant-derived. These can be taken as a capsule, liquid, powder and even added to your water. Dr. Myra can test your mineral levels and guide you regarding the best quality product and dose, if you have a deficiency or imbalance.

Chia Seeds: Tiny Powerhouse

Chia seeds were prized by ancient cultures as a source of sustainable energy. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for strength. A tiny nutrition powerhouse, Chia is rich in dietary fiber and contains significant amounts of minerals and vitamins. One ounce of Chia seeds provides calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus among other micronutrients, very little fat, and just 138 calories.

With a high amount of antioxidants and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, there are many health benefits associated with Chia seeds. Some studies indicate that people who regularly consume chia seeds have a lower risk for diabetes and heart disease. Chia is considered energizing and hydrating, which is why the seeds are often added to teas, smoothies, kombucha, and sports drinks.

It’s simple to add Chia seeds to your diet. Since the seeds are bland, you can add them to just about any dish or beverage without changing its flavor. Mix chia into cereal, oatmeal, pudding, or yogurt, or blend into a smoothie. Chia seeds can be soaked in juice and added to baked goods. Also, you can eat raw seeds. If you’re new to chia, start with about one tablespoon a day until you get used to the fiber content. A typical serving is 1.5 tablespoon twice a day, or about 20 grams.

Peach-Spinach Chia Smoothie

Sip-for-delicious-sip, except for the color, you’ll hardly notice the spinach in this green smoothie. Frozen peaches create a slushy-sweet base further enhanced by apple juice. Chia seeds give an energizing boost to this yummy low-cal and nutrient rich beverage. Perfectly refreshing after a long workout.

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 c. frozen peaches
  • 1 c. apple juice
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 T. chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 c. baby spinach leaves

Directions

  • Combine the peaches, apple juice, water, chia seeds, and spinach leaves in a blender; puree until smooth, about one minute. Serve immediately.

H2O: Elixir of Health and Vitality

Water. We can’t live without it. Literally. It comprises about 70% of adult body weight and even more for infants and children. Essential to every cell in the body, water helps to . . .

  • maintain normal temperature through sweating and respiration
  • regulate thirst and appetite
  • transport nutrients in the bloodstream
  • remove waste and toxins through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
  • reduce friction in joints and facilitate muscle contraction
  • balance pH level (acid and alkaline)
  • nourish the skin

 8 x 8: Is That Really Enough Water For You?

Everyone’s hydration needs are different, depending upon age, gender, activity level, body composition, and overall health. It’s more myth than scientific fact that we should drink 8 cups x 8 ounces of water daily. A better estimate is to use your body weight: Drink one-half (½) your weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 ounces of water each day.

Your Body Needs More Water When You:

  • are in hot, dry climates or at high altitudes
  • exercise or perform rigorous work
  • take certain medications
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • feel ill – running a fever, experiencing diarrhea or vomiting; during acute and chronic injury/illness

 What Counts as Water?

Pure H2O is best. Caffeine-free tea, such as herbal, can count toward daily fluid intake. Coffee and fruit juice don’t contribute to hydration. Food, such as celery, tomatoes, cucumber and melons, can contribute to daily water requirement depending on the proportion of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Are You Dehydrated?

Dehydration means your body lacks the water required to function. Many people are in a chronic state of insufficient hydration. This can result in constipation, dry skin, inflammation, urinary tract infections, fatigue, and weight gain due to increased appetite.

Inadequate hydration makes it harder for the body to eliminate toxins and can quickly lead to acute dehydration, which is life threatening. Warning signs include dry mouth, irritability, headaches, and muscle cramps. If you don’t receive fluids, you become dizzy, clumsy and exhausted. The vital organs start shutting down. Without water, you will enter into a coma and die.

You may have heard you can determine if you are dehydrated by the color of your urine. However, certain foods, supplements, and medications change urine color; it’s not a reliable guide. Dr. Myra can help you determine the amount of water that’s right for you.

Savvy Ways to Drink More Water:

  • Use a “dedicated” glass or water bottle. Choose a style and size that feels right to you. Keep it by your side. Sip throughout the day.
  • Do the citrus twist. Embellish water with slices of orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit.
  • Get fizzy. Bubbly spring water hits the spot on a hot day. Look for carbonated water without added sweetener. Search online for recipes for making your own carbonated ginger or lemon-lime beverages.
  • Enjoy Virgin Sangria (or Earth Juice for kids). Pour water over fresh (or frozen) citrus, melon, blueberries or strawberries. Chill for a few hours. The water extracts some of the flavor, nutrients and color. Try with mixed fruits or carbonated water for a delicately sweetened, beautiful refreshment.

Improve Your Health With Collard Greens

A traditional Southern embellishment to soups, stews, and entrées, collard greens provide an impressive array of key vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, K, C, the B-vitamin folate, iron, calcium, and manganese. These nutrients play an important role in protecting our cells from damage and supporting the body’s natural processes for controlling inflammation. Collard greens tend to be less expensive than other cruciferous vegetables, so you can really get a nutritious bang for your buck. It’s best to buy organic greens to avoid contamination from insecticides, an issue with conventionally grown produce.

To receive the terrific benefits of this vegetable, include it in your diet several times a week, an optimal amount would be about 6-10 cups a week. Be careful not to overcook these greens or you’ll wind-up with a rotten egg odor, not to mention pungent-tasting collard greens. For cooking, slice thin strips of the greens, rinse and drain; then proceed to steam or sauté. When adding chopped collard greens to a favorite vegetable or meat-based soup/stew, stir the steamed greens in during the final minutes of cooking. You can also add collard greens to spaghetti sauce or to a vegetable lasagna recipe, in place of spinach. For a flavorful side dish, sauté collard greens with yellow onions and fresh garlic (or shallots). For a zesty salsa, combine cooked collard greens with fresh tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and jalapenos.

Sauteed Collards and Spinach

Shake up your usual selection of healthy green veggies by sauteeing collards and spinach. The robust “bite” of sauteed collards is complemented by milder spinach. Sunflower oil adds a delicate nutty flavor that pairs nicely with the garlic and lemon in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh washed collard greens (trim off the thick stems)
  • 4 cups fresh washed spinach
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 6-8 cloves slices garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 fresh lemon or lime
  • 1/4 cup olive or flax oil

Directions

  1. In a large pot or pan, heat the sunflower oil over medium heat for about 7 min.
  2. Add sliced garlic and saute for 5 min stirring frequently.
  3. Add the fresh collard greens, spinach and water; saute, stirring frequently, until wilted – about 10-15 min depending on desired tenderness.
  4. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, and olive (or flax) oil.
  5. Squeeze the lemon/lime over the top of the greens and mix well.

Magnesium: A Multi-faceted Nutrient

Recognized for its role in bone structure and proper function of nerves and muscles, Magnesium has a multi-faceted role in disease prevention and health promotion. It is necessary for almost every chemical reaction that takes place in the body!

Here are just a few things magnesium can do for you:

  • Calm your body by helping blood vessels dilate, which maintains lower blood pressure and makes it easier for the heart to pump blood.
  • Improve quality of sleep, a critical defense against stress.
  • Help neutralize stomach acid and move stools through the intestine.
  • Play a role in lowering blood sugar, a major issue in diabetes management and prevention.
  • Help with prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, nerve and back pain.

Food sources of magnesium include leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, fruits and whole grains. Because food levels of magnesium are affected by the quality of soil in which the food is grown, there have been huge declines in food-based magnesium content over the last few decades. Some people may be magnesium deficient and not realize that their symptoms of illness (e.g., headaches, muscle cramps, constipation) are related to insufficient magnesium.

There are different types of magnesium (e.g., citrate, glycinate) and various forms (pill, powder, liquid). Some forms may be better suited to different types of health issues. If you are concerned about magnesium deficiency due to dietary habits or physical symptoms, consult with Dr. Reed to select the right type of magnesium supplement. Some forms of magnesium are poorly absorbed and won’t provide therapeutic benefits, and other forms can cause changes in bowel movements.