Page last updated: 4 February 2019
Virtually all health practitioners who promote a frugivorous diet, have stressed the importance of sufficient minerals in the diet. Arnold Ehret said minerals were necessary to build good blood, and that good blood was necessary for the body to detox and have a healthy constitution. Dr. Doug Graham recommends eating a healthy portion of around 5% greens in the daily diet, for fiber and minerals. But what do we do when, due to conventional farming practices, the supermarket conventional and "organic" food that we buy is deficient in many trace minerals?
This page is a work in progress and you'll see new information being added from time to time.
A Quick Note
About the links on this page:
1) You'll notice that some of the links may be to websites that promote or condone the consumption of meat, milk, butter, et cetera. I do not condone the consumption of land mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, or the milk of any animal other than human. These websites may simply have useful information on common topics.
2) You'll also notice that none of my links to products on Amazon (or other websites) are referral links (you can tell by the URL.) I am not making any commission by including these links on my page. I do not sell any supplements. My income comes from other sources so that I can provide you with this information relatively free of bias.
The Two Nemeses
When it comes to minerals we have two things working against us: Insufficient minerals in the foods we consume, and antagonistic "anti-nutrients" that reduce our body's ability to use the minerals we do get.
Insufficiency in the food source is caused by many factors, but one example is depleted topsoil that has been farmed for many years using conventional agriculture techniques. "Organic" food has the same problem as it's still an open-loop system with conventional agriculture methods.
An example of anti-nutrients are halides. These compounds (e.g. chlorine, bromide, fluoride) compete with iodine for receptor sites in all the body's organs as well as the thyroid. Bromide is ubiquitous in many consumer products and foods. Everything from bread to nuts either contains bromide ("bromated wheat flour," which is usually unlabeled) or has bromide added as a processing agent. It is used as a flame retardant and added to plastics. Fluoride is added to the drinking water, toothpaste, and even given to children in government schools. Chlorine is added to drinking water and used in many other applications. All of these halides are taken up by receptor sites in our body which are supposed to be taking in iodine. They take in the other halide compounds because they are so similar. Just like the bones taking up radioactive strontium-90 because it "acts like calcium," halides are taken up by many tissues and organs because they "act like iodine." Since the human body has only recently been exposed to such large, chronic amounts of halides, it hasn't had the chance to evolve so that the receptor sites are more specific to iodine and not all halides.
B12, though not a mineral, has anti-nutrients (analogues that act like B12 and clog receptor sites.) Also, B12 creation in the body is affected by mineral deficiencies since B12 is the by-product of a certain bacteria consuming the trace mineral cobalt. Oxalic acid in some vegetables can inhibit absorption of iron, calcium, and other minerals.
While the importance of minerals in "building good blood" (as Ehret put it) cannot be stressed enough, there are a number of other nutrients worth mentioning.
Omega 3-to-6 Ratio
Many recommend, after looking at traditional diets of healthy populations, that the optimal ratio of Omega 6-to-3 essential fatty acids is around 1:1. Lower is better, and anything higher than 4:1 is not so good. The average westerner probably consumes a ratio of about 15:1 or higher - yes, vegans too. Here you can find a list of the 6:3 ratios of the most popular nuts and seeds. You can see which nuts and seeds to lay heavy on, and which ones to pull back on or eliminate, to get an ideal 6:3 ratio. Also note that avocado has a terrible ratio of about 15:1. Raw vegans who are consuming multiple avocados daily for years on end should consider the effect that this may have on their brain health. That is not to say that avocados are necessarily bad, just that we should be cognizant of eating a large amount of a single type of food daily for years without really questioning it. Especially when, until just a few decades ago, most people in developed countries had no way of eating avocados year-round.
Note that the ratio is not the end of the story when it comes to reducing Omega 6. A food may have a very high 6:3 ratio, but such a small amount of both, that it really has no bearing on the ratio of your overall intake. Also, many studies on omega 6 intake paint a worse picture because the primary omega 6 intake of most westerners comes from fried oils, margarine, shortening, etc and not raw whole foods. For example, studies show increased omega 6 intake in the standard U.S. diet to increase health problems, but studies do not show that increasing intake of nuts with a high omega 6 content to increase health problems (in fact, they show the opposite.)
The main reason that it is considered ideal to have a low omega 6:3 ratio is because both omega 6 and 3 compete for the same rate-limiting enzymes in the body. Omega 6 is converted to arachidonic acid which causes an inflammatory response, whereas omega 3 is converted to EPA and DHA which are beneficial for our health. Too much omega 6 does not result in a particularly high arachidonic acid level, since the enzymes are rate-limiting, but it can indeed result in a deficiency of EPA/DHA. Some vegan doctors recommend an algae-sourced DHA supplement such as Ovega-3.