In the absence of enough minerals in our food these days, the body absorbs harmful toxic minerals that are widely available due to their increased industrial use. Understanding the role of minerals and the havoc toxic metals create in the body is an important subject which cannot be underestimated. So, are organic foods really any different from regular products available off the shelf or is it just another expensive, new age phenomenon to satisfy our minds of having consumed healthy food without being sure of the credibility of the source?
Being conscious of what we eat is really down to each one’s level of awareness. To some, eating meat, smoking, consuming alcohol and digesting all sorts of food is acceptable. What they fail to understand is that the impact of such a lifestyle doesn’t surface instantly. Our bodies are resilient and expel the toxic matter, as much as it can. However, this cannot go on for forever. The body wears down with all the expelling of the toxic wastes and eventually loses the energy and vitality to do so, accelerating ageing and diseases. Just as a car will breakdown sooner or later if you continue to put substandard fuel, the human body will revolt if you continue to feed it with substandard food.
High industrial exposure
Due to their industrial use, the unrestricted burning of coal, natural gas and petroleum, and incineration of waste materials worldwide, mankind is today being exposed to the highest levels of toxic metals in recorded history. Toxic metals are now everywhere and affect everyone on planet earth. They have become a major cause of illness, ageing and even genetic defects.
Although minerals are the key building blocks for a healthy body, required for body structure (bones), fluid balance, protein absorption and to produce hormones, but when consumed in excess can actually prove hazardous to health.
When we inhale or take toxic metals through food, they simply deposit in our bodies, causing local irritation and other toxic effects. An affected cell may operate only at 5% of normal activity. The most worrying aspect is that when the body is deficient of macro-minerals, it starts retaining the cheaper alternatives available; this is called the mineral replacement process.
For example, the body needs zinc for the body’s defensive (immune) system to work properly. Zinc plays an important role in cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. However, if zinc becomes deficient in the body, it will retain cadmium, lead or mercury; cadmium in particular, since its atomic structure is very similar to that of zinc. Cadmium is widespread in the air, as it is used in brake linings of cars and is known to toughen the tissues and hardens the arteries leading to heart disease, cancers of all kinds, kidney disease, diabetes and other health problems.
Low mineral content in modern diets
The only genuine source of vital minerals is the food that we eat. The danger of toxic metals is aggravated today because of the low mineral content of most of our food supply. An abundance of vital minerals will help the body expel toxic matter. Causes for the low mineral content of almost all agricultural products are primarily:
- Hybrid crops that are bred for high production or disease-resistance rather than superior nutrition
- Super-phosphate fertilizers that produce higher yields by stimulating growth, but do not provide all the trace minerals
- Monoculture, the growing of just one crop over and over on the same piece of land, eventually depletes the soil of micro nutrients
- Toxic sprays which damage soil micro-organisms needed to help plants absorb minerals from the soil
- Food refining and processing which almost always reduces the mineral content of our food. For example, whole wheat flour, when milled to make white flour, loses 40% of its chromium, 86% of its manganese, 89% of its cobalt, 78% of its zinc and 48% of its molybdenum. Refining cane into sugar causes even greater losses. EDTA may be added to frozen foods to retain their colour. However, this chelating agent removes minerals that otherwise would cause the surface minerals to ‘tarnish’, discolouring the vegetables.
As a result of the above, according to Dr. Weston Price, DDS, author of ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration,’ primitive man ate 5 to 11 times the amount of the essential minerals in his diet as modern man. Organically grown food is better, but varies as most organic food available is still hybrid varieties. Newer genetically modified crops wipe nature’s nutrient composition completely. In Chicago, a test was performed and organic food was found to have double the mineral content than non-organic food.
Sources of toxic metals
Food sources: Food grown near highways or downwind of industrial plants may contain lead and other toxic metals. Even organic home gardens may be contaminated if, for example, the water pipeline is eroded and leaks aluminium with the water supply.
Sprays and insecticides: Often contain lead, arsenic, mercury and other toxic metals. Refining of food often contaminates the food with aluminium, as it is found in water supplies everywhere.
Airborne sources of toxic metals: Most toxic metals are effectively absorbed by inhalation. Auto and particularly aircraft exhaust, industrial smoke and products from incinerators are among the airborne sources of toxic metals and other chemicals.
Mercury & coal-fired power plants
Incineration can be clean: Older methods of incineration of electronic parts, plastics, treated fabrics, batteries and even diapers release all the toxic metals into the air.
Direct skin contact: Almost all antiperspirants and many cosmetics contain aluminium. Dental amalgams contain mercury, copper and other metals. Dental bridges and other appliances often contain nickel.
This is a vast subject and requires much awareness to prevent ourselves of unnecessary ailments and accelerated ageing caused through toxicity. Some of the simple steps one can take are as follows:
- Choose genuine, non-hybrid organic food and beauty products. Companies like Nature Organic and Quinta Essentia Organic are committed to providing you the finest in food and healthcare products.
- Spend time in fresh air not as a matter of luxury but as a mandate. The oxygen that you will get from early morning walks or weekends away from the city will help the body rid itself of toxic matter.
- Pranayam i.e. Yog. Practices like Sanatan Kriya balance the body, creating a protective shield in the pranmaya kosh. For more information, visit www.dhyanfoundation.com
The study of toxic metals is part of nutrition and toxicology, areas not emphasized in medical schools. For this reason, these important causes of disease are accorded little attention in conventional mainstream medicine.
Minerals are classified into four groups:
Macro-minerals, or those needed in large quantity, include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, sulphur, iron, copper and zinc.
Required trace minerals include manganese, chromium, selenium, boron, bromine, silicon, iodine, vanadium, lithium, molybdenum, cobalt, germanium and others.
Possibly required trace minerals include fluorine, arsenic, rubidium, tin, niobium, strontium, gold, silver and nickel.
Toxic metals include beryllium, mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminium, antimony, bismuth, barium, uranium and others.
Also, note that minerals needed in lesser quantities are usually toxic in greater amounts. Examples are copper, iron, manganese, selenium and vanadium. Even calcium and sodium are quite toxic in excess.