Foods rich in minerals & trace elements
Some easily affordable sources
Following up from Minerals and trace elements, here is a listing of some inexpensive and widely available foodstuffs that are particularly rich in these essential nutrients which frequently seem to be lacking or underrepresented - even in organically grown - food.
For optimising dental and other healing and in an effort to make up for previous nutritional deficiencies (yes, including those we may have sustained while developing in our mother's womb, see Minerals and Trace Elements), it seems advisable to eat a nutritious mineral-rich raw-focussed diet based on organically grown food1, and regularly include seaweed and blackstrap molasses as natural superfood "supplements".
Incidentally, the advantage of using foods rather than isolated mineral supplements to add minerals to one's body is twofold. One advantage lies in the balance of elements provided in foods. While taking isolated minerals and trace elements may be helpful, there is a possible concern of taking too much of a good thing and since these elements tend to "compete" with one another, to actually incur a deficiency in another vital element by overdosing on the one ingested. The other advantage is bioavailability, which in short is the fact that the body may only or best make use of minerals provided in "organic" form2. (In fact there often is a third advantage relating to the fact that generally, foodstuffs are much cheaper than man-made supplements.)
Special note: to help your teeth and bones make proper use of the rich supply of minerals offered by the following foods, make sure to ingest sufficient amounts of Vitamin D, A and K2 (three fat-soluble vitamins which have been found to act in synergy in the utilization of minerals).
Organic blackstrap molasses is an abundant source of minerals and trace elements (do make sure you buy organic to avoid pesticides and other noxious elements, if you can't easily get it it would seem best to at least use unsulphurated). Blackstrap seems to owe its high mineral content to its very long roots reaching deep into the earth. Additionally, its mineral spectrum is particularly rich in the alkalizing minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron and thus helps to counteract acidic conditions which seem to lie at the root of many physical ailments including tooth decay.3 In fact, one could say that by eating blackstrap molasses, one is giving back to one's body what one deprived it of by eating sugar and processed foods.
Unsurprisingly considering the importance of minerals and trace elements, blackstrap is credited with numerous health benefits, one of them being that it helps to keep dark hair dark or actually restore its original colour.
Prices in my experience vary greatly but if you shop around (for instance on the internet), you may find some very inexpensive sources of quality blackstrap molasses.
Tips how to add blackstrap molasses to your diet
Personally I use two ways of making very tasty recipes/snacks with blackstrap molasses:
- mix with milk (including soy, rice, almond, oat and other nut or vegetarian/non-animal milks), both the colour and taste are reminiscent of cocoa (you may want to try adding vanilla but it tastes wonderful as it is to me)
- eat with yoghurt (perhaps adding honey or other sweetener, particularly the cariostatic xylitol sugar)
- bake molasses biscuits (cookies)
- drink it with some lime juice
- dissolve in hot water and refrigerate for a refreshing summer drink
- or simplest, take a spoonful or two first thing in the morning with water.
If you do a search for blackstrap recipes, you will find some other combinations, such as in biscuits/cookies (eg gingerbread cookies), cakes, tea (or mixed with hot water as tea), added to coffee instead of sugar (if you drink coffee of course), smoothies, with baked beans, peanut butter, spread on toast, buttered rolls, on fruit etc. Or simply experiment!4
To drown out much of blackstrap molasses' somewhat bitter taste you can mix it with other sweeteners, eg 50/50 with honey - a less tooth-friendly solution but apparently the molasses prevents the honey from crystallizing as quickly as it normally will. Or mix it with any of the tooth-friendly sugars which don't themselves have a bitter nuance.
Seaweed - the richest while inexpensive source of assimilable minerals & trace elements on planet earth
Seaweed in its various forms is a time-honoured natural staple food particularly in Japanese cuisine. It forms an important part of the macrobiotic diet which is credited with a number of health and healing benefits, even in cases of cancer5.
Seaweed though a cheap and complete source of all known minerals and trace elements found in the oceans and the richest source of assimilable (bioavailable) minerals on the planet, at least in its raw state (and therefore highly recommended by me), can contain heavy metals (seaweed is actually used as a bioindicator for heavy metal pollution because of its recorded ability to accumulate heavy metals in its cell walls). So when buying seaweed, make sure to enquire about its origin.
Incidentally but importantly, seaweed's rich iodine content helps the body to detoxify fluoride, bromide, chlorine (all toxic halides) and apparently even mercury. (Iodine is additionally credited with powerful anti-cancer and cancer-preventative benefits, more here.)
Seaweed should be available in any health food store. It can also be purchased in Chinese and similarly specialized food stores. I have been warned, however (by a company who provides health food stores with seaweed), that seaweed from Chinese and similar specialty stores may be unsafe since they don't do quality controls re levels of heavy metals contamination. (I think however that the perpetual heavy metal contamination sustained by carrying metal fillings - particularly mercury amalgam - in one's mouth is a much more important issue.6)
A seaweed tooth (cavity) healing testimonial
"When I lived on Grand Manan I ate a red seaweed called dulse (harvested in a sustainable manner from a small island in the middle of the Bay of Fundy) by the pound and my teeth were absolutely perfect...no more cavities...but once I moved away and my supply of dulse dwindled...my cavities came back." Dulse (Palmaria palmata) apparently is milder/blander tasting than other types of seaweed. Another red alga is nori (species: Porphyra) which seems to be more commonly found in the shops and actually tastes kind of pleasant (to my taste buds).
Some more seaweed info and tips:
how you can easily integrate seaweed into your diet
Tip 1: Purchase the "cleanest" seaweed you can find, grind it up in your blender, pour the resulting blackish powder into a salt shaker or other dish and mix it with some sea salt. Use this mixture as you would normally use salt (in case you do use salt, if you prefer not to use it, simply use the seaweed powder straight as a condiment for a rich daily supply of minerals and trace elements).
You can also use preground kelp powder (kelp is a rather popular type of seaweed belonging to the brown algae class which is also available raw-processed, i.e. dried without heat) and mix it with salt. Choose the salt:seaweed ratio according to taste, the higher the seaweed component, the better.
Tip 2: For reasons of enhanced bioavailability of the minerals, you may want to try to get raw-processed seaweed.
Tip 3: I sometimes add spaghetti-like seaweed (the one I mostly buy has the natural sea salt still attached to it) to cooled-down noodle dishes or blend it in the blender together with raw vegetables and boiled potatoes cooked in their jackets.
Tip 4: Smaller amounts of non-salty bland seaweed such as nori can also be blended into sweet (fruit-based etc.) and savoury dishes prepared in a blender. They enrich it while leaving virtually no taste "imprint" in the dish.
Tip 5: For numerous recipes with seaweed, you could purchase a macrobiotic cookbook, look for macrobiotic recipes or explore Japanese cuisine. I once ate soba noodles with cooked hijiki seaweed and a dressing made by mixing tamari (soy sauce) with tahini (sesame butter) and it was absolutely deeelicious.
Tip 6 - Extra tip: You can mix blackstrap molasses with seaweed by turning the latter into a powder (just put it into a blender until pulverized), then mixing the two and taking a teaspoon or tablespoon (or whatever feels right) like a supplement. You could also put the mix into a glass of water and drink it (or "disguise" it in a smoothie etc.).
Tip 7: If you truly can't stomach seaweed, grind it up finely and put it in capsules. A relatively quick and easy way to do so is using a capsule filler. And if you shop for this or any other item via Healing Teeth Naturally's Amazon links, you simultaneously support this humanitarian site at no extra cost to you, see Support this site.
Crushed or powdered eggshell seems to positively affect carious teeth (see the results obtained in rats mentioned under Dentinal fluid transport - revolutionary theory of natural caries resistance and cariogenesis). In fact, there is a widely circulated article on the internet which maintains that using organic eggshells (internally) combined with comfrey root mouth rinses will actually regrow teeth.7
There are various ways people have used eggshell, simply finely ground or dissolved in lemon juice for (likely) better bioavailability of the minerals. Site supporter JR shares the following tasty recipe:
Put the eggshell powder in a tahini-miso mixture. 2-3 tablespoons of tahini, tablespoon of mellow white miso, tablespoon or so of lemon or lime juice, some crushed garlic, enough water to make a smooth paste. Add a teaspoon of eggshell powder and either eat it by the spoonful or add to foods. Tasty! The tahini also has much calcium and other minerals (compare Calcium-rich plant foods).
Ethical dilemma with eggshells
There is a huge ethical dilemma surrounding eggshell use however which is why I myself virtually never buy eggs. Among the main reasons is the following:
In industrial egg production (where most eggs nowadays come from) the freshly hatched male chickens are gassed, suffocated, crushed and/or shreddered, without granting them so much as an anesthetic, soon after hatching since they are not "economically viable" (they don't lay eggs and don't put on weight fast enough to be "usable" as broilers). This means approximately one in two chickens, amounting to many millions of chickens per year dying a horrific death. Incidentally, the same practice prevails in organic egg production (as I've personally verified with the German Demeter federation - Demeter [Biodynamic Agriculture] is the organic label with the strictest standards of all organic labels, but as one can see, it follows business as usual when it comes to egg production.
If you wish to add eggshell to your diet without participating in the above unconscionable animal cruelty, I currently see only three options.
- Raise your own chickens without cruelty.
- Ask friends who will not discontinue their egg consumption to keep their eggshells for you.
- Find and rescue discarded eggs. While it may sound surprising, eggs belong to those perfectly good foodstuffs which are most often found thrown away in supermarkets' bins. The reason? When in a box of eggs, one of them gets (even slightly) damaged, rather than selling the eggs individually, the entire box is discarded after writing it off since this is the most cost-saving way to proceed and food is considered just another commodity (not the life-saver and enhancer that it is or can be). Overall, about half of the entire food production in the Western world ends up in the bins (see eg www.tristramstuart.co.uk/FoodWasteFacts.html and http://freegan.info/) while our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world die of starvation and related diseases at a rate of one every few seconds.
Last but far from least: make sure you properly assimilate your food
Without proper and complete digestion, no matter how nutritious your diet, little of it it will actually reach your cells. To properly assimilate your food including the minerals and vitamins contained in it, your digestive system must produce enough hydrochloric acid as well as digestive enzymes. Intestinal discomfort such as gas or constipation are signs that you are not properly assimilating your food. There are a number of ways of successfully addressing indigestion/lack of proper digestion including by the use of herbs.8
Note: Commercial "tooth remineralizing" products are listed here.
1 while cutting out or minimizing the Foods to handle with caution for the sake of your teeth.
2 For background explanations, see for instance Bioavailability: the science behind “live” and “dead” minerals.
3 Refer to Dr. Herbert Shelton's brilliant insights into caries being caused by an imbalance in calcium metabolism, and for a list of the most alkalinising foods, Acid-Forming & Alkaline-Forming Food Table and this Alkaline/Acid Ash Chart (pdf) which show the foods to favour for balancing the acidifying effects of certain foods, of stress etc.
4 Caveat for haemochromatosis patients: don't take blackstrap molasses if you suffer from this rare "iron excess" affliction.
5 Compare for instance On macrobiotics & cancer healing.
7 More about comfrey under Toothpaste Alternatives: Healthier ways to brush your teeth (scroll to "Comfrey root [Symphytum officinale radix])".
9 If you are the happy owner of a high-power blender (such as those used for making green smoothies), make sure to add the eggshell at the beginning of the mix cycle and use the highest available speed to obtain the maximum fine grind possible. Mixing eggshells in a normal blender will typically leave many rough chunks of eggshell behind.