Nutrition: Minerals

The body also needs minerals in varying amounts to aid in it performing various functions. Lets start!

Of all the essential minerals in the human body, calcium is the most abundant. It is needed in blood clotting, muscle contraction (helps in exercise!) & it forms bones and teeth - 99% of calcium in the body is actually located in the bones and teeth. Calcium comes from green veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, dairy products and fish with bones - if you feel so inclined ha

Chromium, a trace element, needed in the production of glucose tolerance factor, which helps the body utilize insulin - so it helps to stabilize blood sugar. It is also involved in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol. Fermented foods, raisins, grapes, beets, black pepper and wholegrains all contain chromium.

Potassium is an essential mineral needed to regulate water balance, levels of acidity and blood pressure. Potassium, together with sodium, work together for the nervous system to transmit messages as well as regulating the contraction of muscles - potassium is one of the big ones - very important that your potassium, magnesium & sodium levels are in check! Potassium is also required for carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Find it in legumes, nuts, avocado, bananas, dark leafy greens and mushrooms. 

Iron is one of the human body’s essential minerals. It forms part of the blood that carries oxygen throughout the body. People with low iron levels tire easily because their bodies are starved for oxygen. Iron also helps muscles store oxygen. Low iron levels have varying impacts on the body, they impact how the body functions (during exercise especially) and they impact an individuals overall health. If you’re a woman, you have to be extra cautious of this mineral. Find it in both heme and non heme foods including red meat, legumes, dark leafy greens, sunflower seeds. 

Magnesium is an essential mineral for the human body. It is needed for quite a few things - protein, bone, and fatty acid formation, making new cells, it is used in the activation of B vitamins, it helps relax muscles, it is also used in energy production and blood clotting. Phew! The production and use of insulin also requires magnesium. Find it in dark leafy greens (these things are just the best, aren’t they?!), avocado, cacao, bananas and dried fruit.

Selenium is an essential trace mineral. Selenium activates an antioxidant enzyme (glutathione peroxidase), which may help protect the body from cancer. Yeast-derived forms of selenium have induced “apoptosis” (programmed cell death) in cancer cells in test tubes and in animals.  Selenium is also essential for healthy immune functioning. Selenium is also needed to activate thyroid hormones. Find it in fermented foods, brazil nuts, eggs and fish. 

Sodium functions with chloride and bicarbonate to maintain a balance of electrically charged particles in our body fluids and tissues. Sodium has the property of holding water in body tissues. Sodium stimulates muscle contraction and also helps to keep calcium and other minerals soluble in the blood, as well as stimulating the adrenals, so don’t think it isn’t needed! That said - high sodium levels can cause high blood pressure. Find it in everything! Salt! Fermented foods, pickles, seaweed.

Zinc is an essential mineral needed to repair wounds, maintain fertility in adults, synthesize protein, help preserve vision, boost immunity, and protect against free radicals! Get zinc from oysters, mushrooms, seaweed, broccoli and leafy greens!

Cha Bonley - Fried veggies on traditional Khmer way. If you are into exploring the rural places in Cambodia this is how your lunch will be prepared. Light up the fire, put the heavy iron pan on it, throw the freshly gathered veggies in it, put some oil, oyster sauce and soy sauce and you are officially a Khmer Chef. Photo taken in Done On village, Puok district, Cambodia - @lonelyplanetgantapshanov // via Instagram

Crispy, seasoned and baked-only fries with a chunky guacomole dip!

▶ Recipe for healthy fries: I chopped a few white potatoes using a potato cutter, dabbed them in coco oil mixed with a pinch of spices (pepper, pink salt, & paprika), baked in oven at 350F for 30-35 min, moved to the dehydrator to get as crispy as desired. Note: if you don’t have a dehydrator leave in the oven 10 minutes longer at 250F, keep a close eye so you don’t over cook the fries to the point they are rock-hard.

▶ Recipe for guac dip: I blended a ripe avocado, 2 garlic gloves, 1/4 a tomato, 1/4 purple onion, pinch of cayenne pepper, pink salt, cracked pepper, and 1/2 a lime juice. So, so savory! ✌