While there is a growing understanding that the intake of vitamins is important for maintaining and restoring health, the minerals and trace elements are still a shadowy existence in this regard. Though they are just as important to the organism as the vitamins, and just as vitamins, a lack of minerals or trace elements can cause trouble for the whole organism. There is a total of 46 minerals in our body, and according to current knowledge, at least another 14 trace elements are essential. (These are so-called because those are needed in extremely small quantities, that is, in quantities of 1/1000 g or less.)
Minerals (quantity elements) such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium fulfil mainly structuring tasks; they are the raw material for the construction of our bones and teeth. Sodium, chlorine and magnesium, called electrolytes, form the network essential for the transmission of nerve signals or muscle contractions.
Trace elements such as chromium, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium and manganese fulfil – as well as the minerals – tasks in the metabolism. They are often part of the enzymes and their systems which are performing very specific control and regulatory functions in the body.
Minerals and trace elements need – in contrast to vitamins - a carrier to enter into the cell This is the transporter that brings the molecules of the minerals to the required place. Usually, it is a protein molecule. If this is not present in the intestine due to, for example, the absence of protein-cleaving enzymes (protease), the minerals are excreted unused. Thus, even if good nutrition with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits is in place, disturbed protein digestion or too little stomach acid (especially in older people) can cause a mineral deficiency.
For the preservation of minerals in raw food, it is important to eat food in an unprocessed and natural form. This is especially important today as our soils are often leached out caused by the production methods nowadays. Therefore, the plants can absorb only a few trace elements and pass them on to us through the food chain.