Why The Origin Of Clay Makes It Beneficial

Clay is one of those substances so familiar we take it for granted to an almost infinite degree. After all, it is there in our soil, we make it into crockery, and it is baked into the bricks that make up the majority of homes.


Being so ubiquitous, clay is easy to view as a base material, one to be shaped, heated and then used to make things. How it formed is for geology nerds and not of great interest to most.


However, when you come across the idea that clay contains minerals that can provide real health benefits for humans and animals alike, the origins of clay become more relevant, as you are more likely to ask how this has come about.


The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines clays as types of soil with particles of less than 0.005 millimetres in diameter. While they have obvious properties, such as being stable when dry or malleable when wet, the way they are formed is significant; while some rocks are formed by volcanic activities, clay parties are sediment produced by weathering.


Such erosion, be it by wind and rain, glaciers, the tides or streams and rivers, ensures there is a wide mix of minerals that may have originated elsewhere in pure form, but become mixed together as their microscopic particles are transported by wind and water.


Different clays can be dominated by particular minerals. As the Lyell Collection explains, examples of this include bentonite clays being dominated by smectites, or diatomaceous earth being comprised primarily of opal.


With such diversity of origin leading to a range of different mineral compositions, various clays can be useful precisely because that mineral content can help tackle a shortfall in the body. Once ingested, the prior lack of a key mineral can be resolved and the health benefits this brings can flow forth.


In short, the origins of clay may be nerdy, but they show why it can help meet important dietary needs.


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