How to Eat More Nutrient Dense Foods

If you’ve been getting my Feminine Periodical, reading my blogs, or following me on social media for a while now, then you know that I am a bit obsessed with minerals.  I do hair mineral testing with all of my clients, and you can always find me cuddled up with a research article on minerals (mainly copper, magnesium, and iron).  Why am I so obsessed with minerals?  Because they activate thousands of reactions in the body.  In college, I learned about enzymes and how they are the catalyst for different chemical processes.  Those enzymes are primarily made up of amino acids from animal proteins.  This shows you how vital animal protein is, but what turns on those enzymes and allows them to work correctly?  You guessed it, minerals! 

When we have low levels of minerals in the body, these reactions slow down and work at a fraction of what they usually do.  This leads to the body compensating and not functioning at 100%. What causes a depletion of minerals?  A major one is stress, which increases the demand for minerals in the body, but another is inadequate levels of minerals in the foods we eat.

Stress leads to increased use of magnesium, sodium, and potassium directly.  It also indirectly impacts other minerals like copper since we use copper to make energy (ATP) in the body.  When we are stressed, we need more energy.  Minimizing stress is essential, but I think making our bodies more resilient to stress is even more critical.  We can do that by regularly eating throughout the day and combining protein and carbs to support blood sugar balance.  Adding in extra minerals helps too!  Combining potassium, sodium, and vitamin C is the perfect mixture to support your adrenals and replenish the minerals depleted during stress.  One of my favorite ways to get more sodium and potassium is through an adrenal cocktail/elixir–I like calling it an elixir since that sounds more healing to me.  The recipe below was created by Susan Blackard, NP, ND, Ph.D.  I also like to add 1/4 cup coconut cream and 2 tbsp collagen to it and turn it into a snack.  You can have this at any time during the day, but you want to avoid it on an empty stomach if you struggle with acid reflux. 

Ways to Boost Mineral Intake?

Adding in adrenal elixirs to your daily routine helps boost mineral intake, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle.  To ensure we are getting the most nutrients we can, we want to focus on the food groups below. 

Animal proteins and organ meats- provide us with an array of minerals in an easily absorbable form.  That’s the key to all of these foods.  Not only do they contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals, but they are in forms that are easy for users to absorb.  Many foods are touted as nutrient-dense, but those foods contain phytates and anti-nutrients that prevent us from absorbing 100% of the nutrients.  One example is raw leafy greens being praised for their calcium and magnesium.  They do indeed have these nutrients, but the amount we absorb from raw veggies is minimal.  Cooking them helps break down some of these anti-nutrients and makes the nutrients easier to absorb.  Animal foods contain more of these essential nutrients and are easy to break down and absorb.

Starchy veggies and fruit- are rich in potassium, a magical mineral that helps our cells get adequate thyroid hormone and balances our blood sugar.

Bone broth, collagen, and gelatin- are specific protein-rich foods containing amino acids like glycine, support gut health and reduce inflammation in the body.  Bone broth is also rich in many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.  If you make your own, you can add extra greens and potatoes to add even more minerals.  You can find my recipe for bone broth here and my gelatin recipe here.

Dairy products- this may surprise you, but not only is dairy delicious, but it’s also packed with fat-soluble vitamins and essential minerals like calcium and potassium.

Building meals with protein and carb and regularly eating throughout the day helps get an adequate amount of macro and micronutrients.  If you’re anything like me and find yourself having a hard time stopping for snacks midday, this mineral-rich smoothie will be SO helpful.  I have one every day, typically in the evening when I’m on client calls.  This helps me avoid an afternoon slump, get adequate energy, and keep my blood sugar balanced.  Yes, I know it’s winter, I still drink this daily because it gets the job done.  If you don’t have all of the ingredients, don’t let that stop you from making the smoothie.  Sometimes I run out of bee pollen of coconut water powder, but that shouldn’t keep you from getting the rest of the beneficial nutrients in. 

Mineral Rich Ingredients:

  • Mango/pineapple/papaya/banana: rich in potassium
  • Brewer’s yeast contains potassium, calcium, B vitamins. 
  • Cacao: rich in magnesium and copper
  • Coconut water powder: rich in potassium 
  • Blackstrap molasses: rich in potassium 
  • Royal jelly/bee pollen: rich in B vitamins and copper
  • Sea salt: rich in sodium and other trace minerals 

​It’s time to reflect.  Are you getting mineral-rich foods into your diet daily?  Minerals are essential to our bodies functioning correctly.  Low mineral levels bring on added stress to our bodies, which leads to a sluggish thyroid and slow metabolism.  By consuming nutrient-dense foods, such as mineral-rich smoothies and adrenal elixirs, you’ll be sure to move your mineral levels in the right direction.  For more information on the role that minerals play in your hormone health, give our free training on optimizing hormone health with mineral balance a watch! We walk you through mineral foundations and three steps to addressing mineral imbalances, including how to test your own. PLUS, you’ll get a free copy of our Mineral Imbalance Cheat Sheet, which breaks down common mineral imbalances and symptoms that typically accompany them.

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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