Previous Halal Digests

JULY 2002
ISSN 1533-3361
In This Issue
Minerals: Essential To Health Food News The Biological Clock

Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
Human Skeleton Minerals are required by the body for a number of reasons, including bone and blood formation; nerve function; muscle growth and function; proper metabolism, hemoglobin production; immune system function; growth; organ function; and vitamin absorption.

Minerals are found in rock formations and in the soil as salts. They pass from the soil to plants and then to the animals that eat the plants. As we consume plants and animals, we obtain the minerals they have accumulated.

Symbols of Minerals The human body requires some minerals in trace quantities while others are required in larger quantities. Zinc, iron, copper, manganese, chromium, selenium and iodine are required in trace amounts while calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus are required in larger quantities. Each serves a vital function and is required for proper body function.

Tooth For minerals to be useful, they must be absorbed into the blood stream, so they can be transported to the cells in the body, where they are absorbed. An excess of some minerals inhibits the absorption of others, so a balanced intake is needed to assure the proper absorption of all minerals. For example, too much zinc can inhibit the absorption of copper and too much calcium can inhibit the absorption of magnesium. Fiber also can affect the absorption of minerals. If one is taking supplements, they should be taken in balance or at different times so they do not interfere with each other.

The following chart lists some of the important minerals, their function and the foods that contain them.

Mineral Purpose Source
Boron Helps calcium uptake and healthy bones Leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts & grains
Calcium For strong bones and teeth; maintains regular heartbeat & transmission of nerve impulse; helps muscle growth; prevents cramps and blood clotting Dairy products, sardines, seafood, green leafy vegetables
Chromium Metabolizes glucose; aids fat & protein synthesis; helps maintain proper blood sugar Brown rice, cheese, meat, whole grains
Copper Aids in formation of bone, hemoglobin and red blood cells; helps maintain healthy nerves Almonds, avocados, barley, beans, broccoli, garlic, lentils, nuts, oranges, organ meat, raisins, seafood, green leafy vegetables
Iodine Helps metabolize excess fat; helps physical and mental development; needed for healthy thyroid gland (prevent goiter) Iodized salts, seafood, kelp, asparagus, garlic, mushrooms
Iron Needed for hemoglobin production and oxygenation of red blood cells; maintains healthy immune system; aids growth Eggs, fish, liver, meat, poultry, green leafy vegetables, whole grains
Magnesium Important for enzyme activity; helps the uptake of other minerals; aids in nerve transmission Dairy products, meat, seafood, apples, bananas, garlic, nuts, green leafy vegetables, whole grains
Manganese Aids protein and fat metabolism; promotes healthy nerves; maintains healthy immune system; aids in bone growth Avocados, nuts, seaweed, whole grains
Molybdenum Important for nitrogen metabolism and normal cell function Beans, cereal grains, legumes, peas, dark green leafy vegetables
Phopsphorus Aids in bone and tooth formation; important for cell growth; aids heart and kidney function Asparagus, bran, corn, dairy products, eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, sodas, whole grains
Potassium Important for healthy nervous system; aids heart function and muscle contraction, Dairy products, fish, fruit, legumes, meat, poultry, vegetables, whole grains
Selenium Aids immune system; aids heart and pancreatic function; promotes tissue elasticity Brazil nuts, broccoli, brown rice, chicken, dairy products, garlic, seafood, vegetables, whole grains
Silicon Important for bone and tissue formation and cardiovascular function Alfalfa, beets, brown rice, motherís milk, green leafy vegetables, whole grains
Sodium Maintains blood pH; aids in stomach, nerve and muscle function Most foods contain sodium
Sulfur Protects cells; resists bacteria; disinfects the blood; aids in formation of collagen Brussels sprouts, dried beans, cabbage, eggs, fish, garlic, meat, onions, wheat germ
Vanadium Important for cellular metabolism; formation of bones and teeth; reproduction Fish, vegetable oils, olives,
Zinc Important for prostate gland function; reproduction; protein synthesis; collagen formation; immune system Fish, legumes, meats, seafood, poultry, whole grains
Nut shell

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airplane Swiss International Air Lines is offering special deals to Arab travelers from the United Arab Emirates. This includes Halal meals. The promotion is available until September 1. (Reported in
French fries McDonald's has posted an apology for the fiasco about the frying oil for the French fries and hash browns. They have also settled the lawsuit by making a $10 million donation to Hindu, vegetarian and other groups and they have created a Dietary Practice/Vegetarian Advisory Panel to advise them on relevant dietary restrictions and guidelines. More information can be found on their website. (IFANCA is not certifying McDonald's)
scale, weighing Those super-sized portions aren't the bargain many people think. While you can get a lot more for a little additional cost, the extra calories lead to added obesity-related expenses. According to Carol Tucker Foreman of the Consumer Federation of America, Americans are eating 167 more calories per day. That works out to about 17 extra pounds of body fat per year. (Reported on on June 18, 2002.)
scale, weighing Canada has proposed an C$8 billion farm aid program to help Canadian farmers meet global demands. (Reported on on June 20, 2002.)
newspaper Creighton University researchers have found that increasing calcium intake, as with supplements, without increasing phosphorus intake resulted in decreased phosphorus absorption. Many studies consider phosphorus to be important for maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis. This is especially important for women, who have been found to be deficient in phosphorus. Milk is an excellent source of both calcium and phosphorus. (Reported on on June 3, 2002.)
scale, weighing The USA is comsidering suing the EU at the World Trade Organization over the EU's 4 year freeze on approving genetically modified crops. The USA estimates the ban costs American famrers over $200 million annually. (Reported on on June 20, 2002.)
no genetically modified organisms There is a growing trend in the food industry to producing organic products. To be organic, the food cannot contain any Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Consumers are demanding more organic products. With the EU and other nations not allowing products containing GMOs, US grain exports have declined over the years. Halal consumers welcome organic products and should cast their votes by contacting food producers to let them know how they feel. (Reported on on June 10, 2002.)
no genetically modified organisms San Joaquin Valley farmers are being encouraged to limit their raisin production by pruning or uprooting grapevines. In return, the Raisin Administrative Committee will pay them for every grapevine they remove from production. The San Joaquin Valley produces 40% of the world supply of raisins and most of the US supply. It is a shame a better solution cannot be found to help farmers and address malnutrition and starvation around the world. (Reported on on June 21, 2002.)
cell phone Scientists in Finland have found that cell (mobile) phone radiation can cause changes in cells that might affect the brain, though more research is needed to determine how serious this may be. (Reported on on June 19, 2002.)

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Let's start by defining some terms. The biological clock is defined as our internal timekeeping mechanism capable of driving or coordinating a circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm includes the cyclic changes in physiological processes, such as hormone release and urine production, and those changes in behavioral function, such as the sleep-wake cycle. This rhythm normally repeats itself every 24 hours.

Human Brain The biological clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a distinct group of cells found within the hypothalamus, a small area of the brain near the top of the brain stem. The hypothalamus controls many behaviors including sleeping; eating and drinking; body temperature regulation; immune function and the secretion of hormones (which themselves regulate many bodily processes). The SCN, though, is only one part of the mechanism by which the "time" is kept. There are light receptors found in the retina which have a pathway, called the retinohypothalamic tract, leading to the SCN. A third area is the pineal gland, a pea-like structure found behind the hypothalamus. The pineal gland receives information indirectly from the SCN. It appears that the SCN takes the information on day length from the retina, interprets it, and passes it on to the pineal gland, which secretes the hormone melatonin in response to this message. Nighttime causes melatonin secretion to rise, while daylight inhibits it. The SCN is perhaps the most important mechanism, because if it is destroyed, circadian rhythms disappear entirely.

So what controls the circadian rhythm? The main synchronizer in humans is the light-dark cycle; that is, day and night.

(This article was contributed by Omar R. Othman, a medical student at UMKC.)

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