Nourishing Traditions Book Review: Part IV – Vitamins, Minerals and Enzymes

Vitamins:

Vitamins were first discovered in the early 1900s and the population was soon infatuated with them and it hasn’t really stopped.  Vitamin rich foods depend on the farming methods and how healthy the soil is.  Canning and high temperatures can be destructive to some vitamins, but freezing has little to no effect on them.  Air and sun drying are also kind to the preservation of vitamins as well. 

“Consumption of sugar, refined flour and hydrogenated fats, and of alcohol, tobacco and many drugs, depletes the body of nutrients, resulting in higher vitamin and mineral requirements for users.  Stress of any sort causes the body to use up available nutrients at a faster-than-normal rate.” (page 37)

Fallon has a very detailed summary of each of the major vitamins which was very difficult to condense, so I have just included the vitamins and only the smallest amount of information about each.  There is so much more in her book that deserves due attention.  It is fascinating and detailed reading!

Vitamin A is from animal products, eggs, organ meats and seafood.  Synthetic vitamin A can be toxic if too much is ingested; however there are no toxic levels if ingesting it in its true and natural form.

Vitamin B is found in fresh fruits, grains, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seafood and organ meats.  B 12 is only in animal foods and of course she has to take another jab at vegetarians here again!  Deficiencies in vitamin B are the cause of the most common illnesses in the US including dementia, anorexia, diabetes, coronary heart disease and spinal bifida.

Vitamin C is needed for tissue growth and repair, lactation and other cellular functions.  It is mostly found in fruits, vegetables and organ meats.

Vitamin D is similar to vitamin A.  It is needed for strong bones and teeth and normal growth.  It seems to protect against cancer and multiple sclerosis.  It is found in sunlight and foods like eggs, liver, organ meats, seafood, shrimp and crab.  Synthetic vitamin D is linked to hyperactivity and coronary heart disease.

Vitamin E is needed for circulation, tissue repair and healing, and slows the ageing process.  It is a powerful antioxidant and is found in unrefined vegetable oils, butter, organ meats, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and dark leafy greens.

Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and also helps prevent bone loss.  It is mostly found in liver, eggs, butter, grains, dark leafy greens and fermented soy.

Vitamin P is also called bioflavonoid.  It promotes healing, bile production, helps to lower cholesterol, regulates menstrual flow, and helps to prevent cataracts. Peppers, grapes, buckwheat and citrus peel all contain vitamin P.

Coenzyme Q10 has received more popularity lately for those who are taking medications to lower cholesterol or have heart conditions are often put on this vitamin.  It is needed to produce energy and is also an antioxidant.  Particularly found in animal meats especially the heart meat.

Activator X is also known as the (Weston A) Price Factor.  It is thought to be a potent catalyst for mineral adsorption.  It is found in fatty meats of animals that have been fed on young green growing plants.  It is largely absent in todays population.

Minerals:

The way minerals are ingested is normally in the form of salts.  Chelators play an important role in the processing of minerals which are larger molecules that have a mineral attached for transportation.  Colloidal mineral preparations are minerals dispersed in a liquid, similar to soap being dissolved in water. Fallon doesn’t necessarily endorse colloids.  They often have additives to keep them mixed.  It is also feasible to ingest too many minerals which are toxic.  Also colloids are not proven to be better adsorbed than in a normal diet.

The best ways to ingest minerals is through mineral rich water, bone broth, unrefined sea salt and clay.   A temporary colloid is mixing clay in water.  There are many trace minerals in clay and it also has a detoxing effect.  It can also help with intestinal problems like diarrhea and food poisoning.

There are seven macro minerals which Fallon describes in more detail.  I’ve just pulled a few of the facts that I found most interesting about each.

Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth, the heart and the nervous system.  It can be obtained in diary and bone broth.  Sugar and stress leaches calcium from the bones.

Chloride is needed for protein and carbohydrate digestion and for growth and functioning of the brain.  It is obtained in salt, fermented foods, bone broth, celery and coconut.

Magnesium aids nerve transmission, bone formation, metabolism of carbohydrates and minerals, and forms tooth enamel.  Can be found in dairy, nuts, vegetables, fish meat and seafood.  Deficiencies in magnesium leads to coronary heart disease, chronic weight loss, obesity, fatigue, and epilepsy.  Also craving chocolate can be a sign of magnesium deficiency.

Potassium is vitally important for many chemical reactions on the cellular level.  It can be found in nuts, grains and vegetables.

Sodium is crucial for water balance regulation, muscle contraction, nerve stimulation, and adrenal gland function.  High sodium levels can cause high blood pressure, but levels too low cause liver, kidney and heart disease.  Sodium can be obtained in meat broth and zucchini.

Sulphur protects from infection and aids in blocking harmful effects of radiation.  It also slows ageing.  It is found in cruciferous vegetables, eggs, milk and animal products.

Trace minerals include boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, germanium, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silicon, vanadium, and zinc.  Fallon has more information on each of these.

Enzymes:

Enzymes have been increasingly studies in recent years.  I find that they are confusing as to how they work for the non-chemist, or non-biologist.  Fallon states it more clearly than  I ever could on page 46:

“Enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts in almost every biochemical process that takes place in the body.”

They are essential in metabolic functioning, digestion and are in foods which help start the process of digestion in the mouth and stomach.  Fallon says the following about our current consumption of enzymes on page 46:

“A diet composed exclusively of cooked food puts a severe strain on the pancreas, drawing down its reserves, so to speak.  If the pancreas is constantly over stimulated to produce enzymes that ought to be in foods, the result over time will be inhibited function.  Humans eating an enzyme-poor diet, comprised primarily of cooked food, use up a tremendous amount of their enzyme potential in the outpouring of secretions from the pancreas and other digestive organs.  The result, according to the late Dr. Edward Howell, a noted pioneer in the field of enzyme research, is a shortened life span, illness and lowered resistance to stress of all types.  He points out that humans and animal on a diet comprised largely of cooked foot, particularly grains, have enlarged pancreas organs while other glands and organs, notably the brain actually shrink in size.”

Traditional diets included fermented foods and a lot of raw foods which are very rich in enzymes.  Grains, nuts, legumes and seeds all have large quantities of enzymes, but they also have an enzyme inhibitor which can be deactivated by soaking, sprouting, fermenting or sour leavening.

Most fruits and vegetables don’t have a lot of enzymes, but the following are enzyme rich foods: extra virgin olive oil, raw honey, grapes, figs and tropical fruits like, avocados, papayas, banana, dates, pineapple, kiwi and mango.

Once again I’ve learned VOLUMES and I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the depth of information she has provided!  I HIGLY encourage you to read it for yourself… after reading my blog of course!

Read Part V

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