Saturday, 1 April 2017

April 2013: minerals in food


 and what do they do?

Minerals enable us to function: they help produce energy production, grow, and heal. They also help us properly use the vitamins and other nutrients we consume.
The total amount of minerals in our body is finely balanced, so how much we need of each mineral, depends on how much we have of all the others. When you are healthy, your body takes care of this balance, as long as you get enough in the first place.
Here are some of the main ones.

Iron (blood, muscles): organ meats, shellfish, (red) meat, leafy greens, wholegrain cereals, seeds, beans/peas, nuts, dried fruit, molasses, beans, cumin, turmeric, asparagus [1].

Calcium (bones, teeth, nerves, muscles): dairy esp. whole milk etc. - the accompanying fat helps absorb the calcium. Also tinned fish, leafy greens, whole cereals, seeds, molasses, sesame.

Potassium (heart, brain, organs, muscles, blood pressure, anxiety): leafy greens, mushrooms, beet, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, peas/beans, yoghurt, bananas, molasses, (shell)fish, beef, poultry, raw fennel, broccoli, apricots, dried fruits.

Zinc (immune system, heals wounds): shellfish (oysters!), peas/beans, (red) meat, yoghurt, (pea)nuts, whole grains, seeds.

Magnesium (muscles, soft tissues, bone, enzymes): peas/beans, nuts, seafood, seeds, broccoli, molasses, leafy greens, whole cereals, dairy, cocoa.

Phosphorus (bones, energy, nerves, acid balance) - best absorbed from (red) meat. Also fish, poultry, dairy, whole grains, seeds, nuts, brazils, flax (lin)seeds, garlic, broccoli, eggs, peas.

Selenium (fat metabolism, antioxidant, thyroid, protects cells) brazils, seafood, eggs, whole grains, brussels', cabbage, kale, onions, turnips, meat, poultry, mushrooms, whole milk.

Copper (protects cells, helps make bone and red blood cells): shellfish, chocolate, mushrooms, nuts, beans, whole-grain cereals, apricots, seeds.

Lycopene (fights diseases, e.g. cancer, protects from sunburn, etc) tomatoes/-products, parsley, organ meat, egg yolk, red cabbage, carrots.

Manganese (bones, blood sugar, thyroid, nerves, helps synthesize cholesterol and fatty acids, protects cells): leafy greens, spices/herbs, fruit, whole grains, nuts, (shell)fish, cocoa, seeds, beans/peas, tea.

You'll find useful lists of deficiency symptoms at™/faqs-the-symptoms-of-nutrient-deficiencies/ and

purple sprouting broccoli, chard, cabbage, leeks, spring onions, spinach, watercress, loose-leaved lettuce, radish, sorrel, spring greens.

Direct: lettuce, rocket, radish, beet, broad beans, summer cabbage, calabrese, kohlrabi, parsnips, peas, spinach (beet), spring onions, chard, early carrots, autumn cauli, salsify, scorzonera, celeriac, celery. Late April: courgettes, french beans, pumpkins.
Plant: summer cabbage, onion sets, potatoes, summer cabbage.
Sow to transplant: leeks, brussels, sprouting broccoli, autumn cauli, kale, tomatoes (indoors).

Do you have trouble with ground elder, or is it the only green you have in the garden at the moment? How does ground elder omelette sound to you, or quiche, or soup? Eat your way through a troublesome weed:

230g broccoli, 2 tblsp butter, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped leeks, 2 tblsp porridge oats, 1.2l water, 300ml cream (or full milk), salt, pepper.
Trim broccoli into 0.6mm pieces, including the stalks. Saute onion, broccoli and leeks in butter. Cover and let sweat for 5 mins. Add water, milk and oats. Stir, season. Simmer gently for 10 mins. If you like, blend until smooth. Serve with toasted croutons or oatcakes.

50g sorrel, 10g flat leaf parsley, 1 large clove garlic, crushed, 1 tbsp pine kernels, 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 25g grated mature cheese.
Blanch sorrel and parsley for 20 secs in rapidly boiling water. Refresh in cold water, drain and squeeze out any excess. Blend with garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and a pinch of salt, to a smooth puree. Transfer to bowl, stir in cheese.

Leeks and/or purple sprouting broccoli, potatoes for two, leftover meat like chicken or pork (I had pheasant). For the sauce: 2 1/2 tblsp peanutbutter, 1 onion, (garlic) 2 tblsp butter, 1 1/2 tblsp flour, water, 1 tsp paprika powder, 1/2 tblsp tomato puree, pepper (pref. cayenne or chilli), soy sauce, salt.
Heat a bit of salted water, add chopped potatoes and leeks, put meat on top (add broccoli a bit later, if used). Cover, cook till veg are done. Meanwhile, fry chopped onion (and garlic) in butter for a few mins, add flour, stir, then 75ml water, stir. Add peanut butter, stir. Add 200ml water, tomato puree, pepper, paprika powder, salt and plenty of soy. Cook till onions are soft. Drain veg/meat and serve with the sauce.

700ml coarsely chopped sorrel, a pastry or pie crust, some chopped spring or little onions, 80g goat (or other strong) cheese, 3 eggs, 300ml milk, ¼ tsp salt, grated mature cheddar cheese, pepper. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread goat cheese in the bottom of the piecrust. Cover with chopped sorrel and onions. Beat eggs, salt and milk together. Pour over greens. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let rest for 20 mins, and reheat if wanted.

500g leftover floury cooked potatoes (or mash), butter, milk, 3 tbsp groundnut oil, 4 chopped spring onions, 120g chopped watercress, salt, pepper, poached/fried eggs to serve or grated cheese. 
(Mash potato.) If mash is stiff, add butter melted in some warm milk. Season. Sauté onions in a tblsp oil for 2 mins. Add cress, stir until just wilted, tip into potatoes, season, stir. Heat remaining oil in the same pan, add potato mix (and cheese), pat flat. Cook slowly until underside is golden. Turn over by inverting it onto a plate and sliding it back, cooked side up, into the pan. Leave to brown for 2 mins until it has a crust bothsides. Serve at once, with poached or fried eggs if you like.

300g spinach, 150-175g crumbled Stilton, 250-300g pasta, butter, 1 chopped onion, 200ml crème fraîche, 1/2-1 tbsp wholegrain mustard, salt, pepper, (mushrooms).
Cook pasta. For the sauce: saute onion (and mushrooms). Stir in crème fraîche, mustard and Stilton. Heat until Stilton melts. Drain pasta and add to sauce, mix. Season. Add spinach to the pan and continue to cook until it wilts. Serve immediately.

400g trimmed spring greens, 6 tbsp crème fraîche, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Chop spring greens, cook in salted water, for 5-15 minutes depending on toughness and how you like them,  drain. Mix crème fraîche in the pan with sea salt and pepper: bring almost to the boil. Add spring greens, stir, reheat gently, season if necessary.


2 large leeks, 200g frozen or fresh podded peas, 100ml cream or yoghurt, 75g grated cheddar, 1 tsp mustard, butter/olive oil, (pumpkin seeds).

Wash and chop leeks finely. Saute gently for 10 mins. Add peas. Cover and cook for 4-5 mins. Remove from heat and mix in cream/yoghurt, cheese and mustard, season. Gently warm through. (Add pumpkin seeds.) Nice with potatoes.


Next month: food for your brain.