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Second Anti-Aging Secret: Minerals Without Fail
Minerals rank with protein as the most neglected, haphazardly obtained nutrients in our American diet. And more especially in the diets of persons past forty. One of the 'three starvations of later years,' spoken of frequently in nutritional reports, is mineral starvation. (The other two ''starvations' in older bodies are protein and vitamin B-complex.)Protein and minerals are so closely linked that to advise you to eat plenty of protein, without stressing the need for equal care in obtaining a full quota of minerals, would be to tell only half the Eat-and-Grow-Younger story. A report made this year to the National Academy of Sciences by a research team headed by Dr. Cannon emphasizes that the minerals potassium, phosphorus and magnesium are essential in the diet for proper use of all body-building protein foods. This research team discovered that omitting potassium from the diet could lead to eventual congestive heart failure. Dead tissue developed within the heart muscles six days after potassium was taken out of the diet. But when potassium was restored to the diet, the body muscles began to rebuild, and the dead tissues in the heart healed. In other words, with potassium again present, protein could resume its appointed task of repairing and replacing body cells. Protein and minerals are the chief actors in the nutritional drama, while vitamins play a secondary, although essential, role (vitamins, the front-page news of the past decade, are now recognized as being solely activators, that is, substances needed to set other substances into action). To neglect any of these three food elements is to wreck the nutritional drama. Yet to star vitamins over protein and minerals is an equally unsound practice. You can't repair your body cells with vitamins alone, nor can you expect vitamins to do the nutritional work of minerals.
Each of the three food elements-protein, minerals, vitamins has its own specific task in preparing your body for a long, youthful life. If I seem to emphasize protein and minerals more than I do vitamins, it's only because I feel certain the vitamin story is well enough known not to need detailed repetition in this book. On the other hand, I'm afraid the mineral story has been too often pushed into the background by 'sensational' vitamin news. Yet today, more than ever before, nutrition experts are turning to mineral therapy. The final report of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee on Nutrition for 1947 contains an article by Dr. C. Ward Crampton, noted authority on diseases of older persons, in which he .states: 'The foremost nutritional defects in the mature and aging are calcium, iron and protein.
Seventy-five per cent of the men of sixty suffer a lack of one or more. On the other hand, many suffer dietary excesses, notably carbohydrates and possibly cholesterol.'Dr. Crampton goes on to report that the American diet is more deficient in calcium than in any other food element. Our ordinary menu is calcium-poor. This calcium deficiency accumulates, becoming increasingly serious as the person grows older. Calcium is so important an ingredient of your blood that your bloodstream will attempt to maintain its calcium level, even though it has to rob other body parts of their vitally needed calcium. That is why, in many older persons, the bones, robbed of their calcium by the blood, become more fragile, resulting in easily fractured arms, legs and hips. It is also why calcium-starved heart muscles and brain cells often give up the struggle to maintain normal functioning in bodies that are comparatively young in years. Your nerves, your heart, your teeth, your brain cells, your blood-all need sufficient calcium to remain healthy, and to function as nature intended. Commenting that 'calcium poverty is one common cause of aging that can be corrected,' Dr. Crampton prescribes a grain of calcium lactate for each year of your age, taken in three doses three hours after each meal.
An inexpensive and convenient way to obtain added calcium in the diet is through the use of powdered skim milk. This dry milk provides needed calcium and protein, along with iron, copper, manganese, cobalt and other trace minerals-less the fats which are wisely limited during the later years. Even though you obtain ample calcium in your diet, quite unknowingly you may be allowing certain foods to rob your body of this vital mineral. Beet greens and spinach contain oxalic acid which deprives the body of its calcium; but you can eat turnip greens, kale and dandelion greens with full assurance that you are not upsetting the balance of this valuable mineral in your body. In fact, dandelion greens that springtime dish of your childhood-have high calcium and vegetable protein content which make them an excellent spring salad. Also, don't indulge in cocoa or rhubarb too freely, since both of them have a high oxalic acid content, and by frequent use of these two foods you run the risk of lowering your calcium reserves. It is Dr. Crampton�s belief that a deficiency of iron is nearly always present in the 'uncared-for person in the higher-age brackets.' He says that the typical person of sixty is anaemic, iron-poor and body-poor, unnecessarily so. And this condition is worse in those persons who are following some unwise diet because of 'dyspepsia' or 'indigestion.' Insufficient hydrochloric acid in the gastric secretions is a common cause of iron poverty in the older body.
Minerals that regulate everything in the human body from 'sight to sex' are lacking in a vast acreage of the croplands that spread across our country. Agricultural scientists are accumulating more and more evidence that a wide variety of human ills are caused by the poor nutrition furnished by foods grown in mineral-starved soils. Dr. K. Starr Chester, head of a staff of farm researchers, has announced that numerous studies show the soil in nearly every state lacks one or more trace elements-cobalt, copper, zinc, manganese, boron. All food grown on mineral-poor soil (and the soil on American farms is estimated to have lost from 50 per cent upwards of its mineral contents in the past fifty-five years) is dangerously inadequate in iron, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and sulphur.
For this reason, I cannot say to you with confidence that such-and-such a vegetable or fruit will provide you with this, that or the other mineral. I can tell you that a certain food should provide certain minerals. But, strictly speaking, the only way I know of at the present time (until some of our high authorities and conservation experts wake up and make obligatory the preservation and restoration of minerals in the farm and garden soils of our nation) to give you foolproof advice on minerals is to recommend the use of a reliable mineral concentrate, provided you are in doubt about the mineral content of the foods available to you. The multiple-mineral concentrate is the best way to use a mineral supplement to the diet. In whatever way you choose to obtain your full daily quota of minerals, for the sake of the restored youthfulness and the long life you so ardently desire, don't neglect these vital food elements. They are minute-to-minute essentials to your health.
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