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Nutrition, Part 2

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 5:22 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

Nutrition, Part Two
by Susun Weed




Vitamins
Vitamins are small organic compounds made by all living tissues. They are found in whole, fresh foods. Vitamins are absorbed best from dried, fermented, or cooked foods. Some vitamins are fat-soluble (A, E, D); some are water-soluble (B, C). All vitamins are groups of related enzymes that function together. Eighteen hundred carotenes and carotinoids contribute to the liver's production of vitamin A, two dozen tocopherols function together as vitamin E, and only when ascorbic acid is joined by bioflavonoids and carotenes does it function as vitamin C.

 

Healthy diets supply adequate vitamins so long as refined foods are rarely eaten. "Enriched" flour is really impoverished, as it does not contain the entire complement of B vitamins and minerals found in the whole grain. When vitamins are synthesized in the laboratory, their complexity is reduced to one active ingredient. In situations of impoverishment and famine, supplements have health benefits. They do not replace healthy food, however, and long-term use of vitamin supplements poses health risks including more aggressive cancers (alpha tocopherol), faster growing cancers (ascorbic acid), and increased risk of cancer and heart disease (beta carotene).

 

Minerals
Minerals are inorganic compounds found in all plant and animal tissues as well as bones, hair, teeth, finger and toenails, and, of course, rocks. Minerals are also found in, and critical for, optimum functioning of the nervous, immune, and hormonal systems, and all muscles, including the heart. Our need for some minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, manganese, and calcium, is large. But for trace minerals, such as selenium, iodine, molybdenum, boron, silicon, and germanium, our needs are minuscule. (4)

 

Minerals may be difficult to get, even in a healthy diet. Overuse of chemical fertilizers reduces mineral content. According to US Department of Agriculture figures, during the period 1963-1992, the amount of calcium in fruits and vegetables declined an average of 30 percent. In white rice, calcium declined 62.5 percent, iron 32-45 percent, and magnesium 20-85 percent. (5) Not only are commercially grown grains low in minerals, refining removes what little minerals they do have.

 

Seaweeds and herbs are dependable mineral sources when eaten, brewed (one ounce dried herbs steeped four hours in a quart of boiling water in a tightly covered jar), or infused into vinegar, rather than taken in capsules or tinctures. Many herbs, such as dandelion l-eaves, peppermint, red clover blossoms, stinging nettle, and oatstraw, are exceptional sources of minerals, according to researchers Mark Pedersen, Paul Bergner, and the USDA. (6,7) For instance, there are 3000 mg of calcium in 100 grams dried nettle.

 

Phytochemicals
Individual nutrients can be created in the laboratory, but they are unlikely to have the life-giving, spirit-enhancing properties of real foods. Hundreds of different chemicals occur naturally in foodstuffs, many of which avert cancer, promote cardiovascular health, improve sexual functioning, enhance energy, and promote longevity. Primary among these c-hemicals, especially for w-omen, is the class of compounds known as phytoestrogens.


When phytoestrogens are plentiful in the diet, breast cancer incidence is lowered significantly. Phytoestrogens probably also help prevent osteoporosis, high blood pressure, congestive heart disease, and senility. Whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits are high in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogen-rich diets also protect against the harmful effects of estrogen-mimicking chemicals in the environment and in our food.


(1) Price, Weston; Nutrition and Physical Degeneration; Keats Publishing, Inc., 1945
(2) Dunne, Lavon. Nutrition Almanac, 3rd Edition. McGraw Hill, 1990.
(3) Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions Cookbook. ProMotion Publishing, 1995.
(4) Ziegler, Ekhard & Filer, LJ. Present Knowledge in Nutrition, 7th Edition. International Life Science Press, 1996.
(5) Bergner, Paul; The Healing Power of Minerals, and Trace Elements. Prima Publishing, 1997
(6) Pedersen, Mark; Nutritional Herbology; Pedersen Press, (orig. 1987; republished in 1996)(7) (7)Agriculture Handbook Book # 456: Nutritional Value of Foods in Common Units. Dover reprint, 1986. Original by the USDA, 1975.
Johnson, Cait; Cooking Like A Goddess; Healing Arts Press, 1997
Lewallen, Eleanor & John; Sea Vegetable Gourmet Cookbook; Mendocino Sea Veg Co, 1996
Mollison, Bill; Permaculture Book of Ferment & Human Nutrition; Tagari Publications, 1993
Sokolov, Raymind. Why We Eat What We Eat: How the encounter between the New World and the Old changed the way everyone on the planet eats. Summit, 1991.
Weatherford, Jack. Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World. Fawcett Columbine, 1988.
Weed, Susun. Healing Wise. Ash Tree Publishing, 1989.
Margen, Sheldon, M.D. & the Editors of the University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter.
The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition. Rebus, 1992.



~ Part One ~

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