Essential minerals: How are you getting yours?

Content by: Guy Lawrence


Thirsty_MonkeyBy Tania Flack

Guy: Did you know if your body suddenly disintegrated into a pile of dust, up to 5% of it would be minerals. So as you can imagine, minerals have a major role to play in good health and body functionality.

There is the fear of having too much concentration of minerals which is toxic to the body. But as minerals can only be ingested from external sources, the main problem that arises is mineral deficiency through a typical western diet.

The question to ask yourself is, how do I know if I’m deficient?

Good question and it was one I never really considered until I embarked on a 6 week detox experiment. But the problem is, if your gut is not fully functioning you can bet your life a lot of the nutrients you eat pass straight through you.  If you want to learn more about the detox experiment, click here.

Do you have a high refined carbohydrate diet?

A diet high in refined carbohydrates can put additional demands on the digestive system. In order to be digested it leaches from the body’s reserves, which includes its proteins, vitamins and of course minerals.

To add to this, you would have to question soil quality and the very fact that the plants we eat draw minerals from a soil that is depleting of minerals overall. If anyone has got more info on this, we would love to hear from you.

Are you getting enough zinc & magnesium?

Tania: Minerals are required in trace amounts for good health. Surprisingly, mineral deficiency is quiet common in Australia, with Zinc and Magnesium deficiency leading the way. Zinc is necessary for a healthy immune system, strong connective tissue, healthy skin, hair and nails, fertility and healthy hormone balance. Zinc is involved in over 300 different enzyme systems in the body, it is a co-factor of DNA repair and can reduce heavy metal toxicity, particularly lead and copper. Zinc deficiency is also thought to promote cancer growth. Due to poor zinc levels in Australian soils our food is often low in zinc causing wide spread low grade zinc deficiency. Signs of zinc deficiency may include; poor immune function and susceptibility to infections or allergies, poor wound healing, hair loss, skin problems or even acne. Often white spots on the fingernails are the first sign of zinc deficiency. Your Naturopath can easily test your zinc to determine if you are deficient.

Magnesium is another important mineral that is often lacking in the diet. It is essential for the production of energy within the cell and to maintain a healthy nervous system. The body need magnesium in order to help regulate the contraction and relaxation of muscles, the function of certain enzymes in the body and the production of protein. Early signs of magnesium deficiency may include, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, irritability and poor memory. Our requirements for magnesium increase when we are under stress, so in today’s busy world getting enough magnesium in the diet is important. Magnesium is present in most unprocessed foods, but with our modern diet relying more heavily on processed foods these days, magnesium deficiency is becoming increasingly common.

To ensure you are getting a full complement of essential trace minerals from your diet, particularly zinc and magnesium, increase your dietary intake of the foods from the list below.


  • Dairy Products – Cheese, yoghurt, milk
  • Soy products – beans, tofu, milk, flour
  • Wheat germ
  • Figs – dried
  • Egg yolks
  • Lemon Zest
  • Cinnamon, Oregano – dried
  • Tahini
  • Duck meat
  • Almond, Brazil nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Salmon, Sardines
  • Anchovies, Snapper
  • Crab Meat, Fish Paste
  • Shellfish, Prawns
  • Cabbage and Bok Choi
  • Spinach
  • Fresh – Basil, Chives and Parsley


  • Ham
  • White Fish
  • Parsley
  • Olives
  • Cottage Cheese


  • Liver – lamb
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Soy Flour, Bulghur
  • Flour – Rye, Wholemeal
  • Oats, Oatbran
  • Wheat bran, Wheat Germ


  • Bakers Yeast
  • Black Tea
  • Bulghur
  • Rabbit
  • Turkey, Duck
  • Sardines, Mullett
  • Zucchini


  • Iodized table salt
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Milk
  • Fish, Sushi
  • Egg Yolk
  • Oysters, Scallops


  • Red Meat
  • Liver and Kidney – Chicken, Lamb and Veal
  • Almonds, Cashews
  • Hazelnuts, Pine Nuts
  • Sesame Seeds, Tahini
  • Eggs
  • Oysters, Mussels
  • Parsley, Coriander – fresh
  • Basil, Watercress
  • Spinach, Silverbeet
  • Red and Green Chilli
  • Sundried Tomatoes


  • Red Meat
  • Chicken and Chicken Liver
  • Pork and Turkey
  • Almonds, Brazil Nuts
  • Cashews, Pecans
  • Hazelnuts, Pinenuts
  • Pistachios, Walnuts
  • Sesame Seeds, Tahini
  • Bakers Yeast, Yeast Spreads
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Chili, Curry Powder
  • Goats Milk
  • Dried – Apple, Apricot, Currant and Fig
  • Dried – Sultana, Prunes and Dates
  • Passion Fruit
  • Banana
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Legumes
  • Shallots, Spinach and Parsley


  • Almonds, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Macadamias and Walnuts
  • Sesame Seeds, Tahini
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Soy Milk, Soy Flour
  • Tofu, Tempeh
  • Sundried Tomatoes
  • Parsley, Silverbeet, Spinach


  • Red Meat
  • Fish – all types
  • Shellfish
  • Cheese
  • Milk and Yoghurt


  • Red Meat
  • Fish – all types
  • Cheese, Milk and Yoghurt
  • Eggs
  • Apples, Apricots, Banana and Berries
  • Nuts, Seeds
  • All Raw Vegetables


  • Brazil Nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Egg yolks
  • Wheat and Whole Wheat Flour
  • Rice Flour, Oats, Oat Bran
  • Wheat Bran, Wheat Germ
  • Mustard Powder
  • Cheese
  • Fish – all types
  • Sesame Seeds, Tahini


  • Oats, Barley, Millet
  • Alfalfa, Potato, Kelp


  • Egg Yolk
  • Red Meat
  • Chicken and Turkey
  • Almond, Cashew and Brazil Nut
  • Hazelnuts, Pistachio and Pinenuts


  • Oysters
  • Red Meat
  • Liver – Chicken, Veal, lamb
  • Almond, Brazil Nuts, Cashews
  • Walnuts, Pine nuts, Peacans and Peanuts
  • Chicken, Duck and Turkey
  • Cheese
  • Yeast Spread
  • Sundried Tomato
  • Eggs
  • Sesame Seeds and Tahini
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Garlic
  • Green Peas
  • Fresh Basil and Parsley
  • Broad Beans
  • Butter Beans
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms

By simply eating a wide variety of fresh, unprocessed, whole foods you will be able to boost the level of nutrients, including trace minerals, in your diet and reap the health benefits. If you feel that you may have a nutritional deficiency, make an appointment for a full dietary analysis. The small changes you make to your diet now, will serve you in the future and help to protect your health in the years to come.

Guy Lawrence

This article is brought to you by Guy Lawrence. Guy is a qualified fitness trainer with over 10 years of experience in the health industry. Guy worked at the UTS Fitness Centre in Sydney Australia where he specialised in exercise nutrition and obtained his Certificate in Exercise Nutrition and Certified... Read More

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