Planting the Seeds - Understanding Health from a Gardening Perspective

Most of us don’t think about gardening as a concept that applies to our bodies.  But when we think about the materials involved in successfully cultivating a plant – fertile soil, sun, pH balance and water– it’s easy to draw parallels to ingredients necessary for human health.  These include balanced nutrition, pH balance and hydration.  Yet, many of us neglect to provide our bodies with these essential components, hindering vital functions such as circulation, muscle, organ, nerve and brain function – just as plants without nutritious soil, sun and water start to wilt; change color; lose nutritive value and eventually decompose.   Thinking of our bodies as plants being cultivated to maturation may be the key to understanding the ingredients required for optimal health.  

Starting with nutrition basics, plants, animals and humans alike require the correct balance of the macronutrients and micronutrients in their diets for optimal health.  Plants require macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in their soil for proper root, leaf, flower and seed growth.  In the same way, we need to obtain the proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats from our diets for energy, growth and development.   Plants also need secondary macronutrients calcium, magnesium and sulphur to impart plant cell wall structure, support photosynthesis and enhance enzyme and vitamin activity.  We require these minerals as well, and coincidentally, for similar functions including structural development of bone and tissue, as well as protein and enzyme synthesis. 

Many other minerals are essential for growth and development of both plants and humans, including boron, copper, iron, chloride, manganese, molybdenum and zinc.   The function of these minerals is primarily to ensure proper absorption and metabolism of macronutrients as well as for enzyme synthesis and function.  As minerals work together to perform these functions, it is essential that a wide spectrum is obtained from the soil or diet.  A deficiency in any one mineral reduces the functionality of the remaining ones, halting essential metabolic processes and negative health consequences.

As important to health as the mineral composition of our soils and foods, is the pH of the soil and our bodies.  pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance.  Each nutrient is absorbed at a different optimal pH level, for example plant micronutrients are most absorbable in slightly acidic soil whereas macronutrients are better absorbed in alkaline settings.  The desired pH of soils for optimal nutrient absorption is slightly acidic at a pH of 6 – 6.5.  Conversely, we absorb nutrients best when our bodies are slightly alkaline; in fact, acidity in the body is a starting point for many health conditions that plague our society today including diabetes, immune deficiency, arthritic conditions, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue and free radical damage leading to cancer.

On top of proper absorption of essential nutrients, hydration is paramount to optimal health for all living things.  Water is essential for all processes including cellular metabolism, energy production and the synthesis and breakdown of metabolic chemicals such as vitamins and cofactors, enzymes, hormones, and immune cells.  Beyond these vital functions, water also performs a critical role in detoxification in the body, helping to eliminate harmful accumulated metabolic and environmental toxins. 

Detoxification is an increasingly important function in maintaining overall health and wellness, as our bodies are required to combat ever increasing toxic loads.  Our bodies are constantly exposed to a wide scope of toxins including those resulting from normal metabolism, as well as environmental sources such as air and water pollutants, chemical additives in the food, alcohol, cigarette smoke, pharmaceutical drugs, cleaning products and other environmental poisons.  Interestingly, some mineral-based substances also promote detoxification processes in the body by attracting and absorbing toxins.  This process is due to the unique structure of certain mineral composites, such as montmorillonite clays, which attract and draw positively charged toxins into their negatively charged structures and facilitate their safe elimination from the body.  Water is an integral part of this detoxification process as sufficient water must be present for the structure to swell and absorb intestinal toxins. 

Detoxification is associated with many health benefits including anti-inflammatory effects, weight loss, bone and joint health, skin health, increased energy levels and concentration, anti-aging benefits and immune enhancement.  This additional benefit of minerals beyond their nutritive value is not experienced with minerals derived from foods or multivitamin/mineral supplements.  Look for specific ingredients containing minerals in this unique montmorillonite structure, such as SierraSil®, a patented all-natural silicate mineral composite.  SierraSil® contains over 60 minerals which work in concert to promote optimal health by providing essential minerals as well as decreasing inflammation and detoxifying the body. 

When we consider these principles, it can be seen that the key to overall health and longevity is as simple as providing our bodies with the proper ingredients.  Balanced nutrition, hydration and pH balance are cornerstones for healthy growth and development.  In addition to these vital components, supplying our bodies with nutrients with detoxifying potential can provide extra insurance against premature aging and chronic disease.  Plant these seeds for optimal health and reap the rewards of a long, vigorous life.

About Sarah Holvik:
Sarah Holvik is a Nutritionist who owns and operates a nutritional consulting company, Manna Health Group. Have a question about nutrition? Contact Sarah at

This information is intended for your information only and should not be interpreted for specific medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for any advice or decisions on your health.

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WellBeingMagazine, posted on October 21, 2010

Organic gardening for sustainable and green living is all about providing a healthy, nurturing environment where plants thrive without chemical intervention. It\'s about selecting plants suited to the climate and soil.

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