All life on earth contains minerals. When plant or animal tissue is burned, the ash that remains is composed of minerals. Minerals provide structural and functional support. They make up approximately 4% of your total body weight.

Some minerals are present in large quantities. These include calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium and sulfur. Other minerals are called trace elements because they are present in minute amounts. These include chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, fluorine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, tin, vanadium and zinc. Some scientists have deduced from animal studies that aluminum, arsenic, barium, bromine, cadmium, nickel and strontium are required as well.

The table below contains some of the more vital minerals:


Similar to vitamins, minerals are used in many of the vital metabolic processes in the body. They function as co-enzymes in these processes. Natural foods contain adequate amounts of minerals. Like vitamins, food processing removes much of the minerals. Minerals are not removed through heat, but by being washed away when fluid (water) is added to the processed food.

The most dramatic alteration of the normal mineral content occurs when vegetables are canned. Processed and prepared vegetables change the natural ratio of sodium to potassium.

Mineral loss in canned peas

Sodium versus potassium in peas

Biologic sodium is different from added sodium chloride or salt. Increased salt consumption is directly proportional to increase blood pressure. When being treated for high blood pressure, often with diuretics, we are encouraged to decrease salt consumption and increase potassium. It becomes obvious where the solution lies. Fresh, natural foods!

Most soil has been depleted of minerals, so even if we try to eat fresh, the produce grown today is often not as healthy. This is the reason behind the organically grown foods movement. It is an attempt to move away from eating devitalized foods and to encourage the growth and consumption of naturally rich produce.