Food As Information

Examples of the Roles Nutrients Play

Here are some examples of nutrients essential for specific body functions. These nutrients provide "information" so the body can complete the necessary processes. (Note: This is a simplification for illustrative purposes. There are no doubt many more substances involved in all of these processes, including trace minerals and co-factors.)

Immune function: vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, folic acid, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, magnesium, selenium, vitamin C

Nerve impulses: sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin B6, folic acid, B-12, copper, vitamin C

Tissue repair and formation: vitamin A, vitamin E, copper, riboflavin, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C

Metabolism: potassium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin C

Note that magnesium is needed for all of the functions listed above. Let's take a closer look at magnesium as "information."

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral found in whole grain, wheat germ, nuts, and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), soybeans, tofu, chocolate, dark-green vegetables, legumes, yogurt, and other dairy products. However, the amount of magnesium in any magnesium-rich food is influenced by the soil content in which the food was grown. In many commercial farms, magnesium has been depleted from the soil.

Functions of magnesium:

  • Needed for healthy bones
  • Involved in nerve transmission
  • Initiates muscle release
  • Activates energy synthesis
  • Promotes healthy blood vessels
  • Inhibits platelet aggregation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases HDL cholesterol
  • Involved in temperature regulation
  • Helps control blood sugar
  • Promotes wound healing
  • Enhances immune function

If a person did not get enough magnesium over a period of time, these functions would decline. The magnesium insufficiency might manifest as the following:

  • Blood pressure issues, such as hypertension
  • Spasming of a muscle, such as an arrhythmia in the heart, a muscle cramp in a leg, or a spastic colon

Eating magnesium-rich foods or supplementing with magnesium would provide the information needed to restore function and reduce risk.