Limestone is a soft rock with many properties, so can you eat limestone?
The answer is yes.
Limestone is safe for consumption, with few adverse side effects (when consumed in accordance with accepted dietary guidelines).
To learn more about how limestone is consumed and why, we need to look at many factors.
What is Limestone?
Limestone is a sedimentary rock that usually forms in warmer areas of the ocean.
Limestone forms from organic material including shell, coral, algae, and fecal matter.
Due to the way that they are composed, limestone is often a fossil-rich rock.
Some fossils in limestone are more prominent, as some of the shells do not fully degage over time.
Other fossils found in limestone have broken down so significantly that they no longer resemble fossils and look more like fine grains.
Biological limestone is composed predominantly of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and significant traces of magnesium carbonate.
Chemical limestone is formed through longtime precipitation deposits of calcium carbonate that come from oceans or lakes.
As limestone is classified as a rock that contains CaCO3, several different types of limestone fall under the classification:
- Bituminous limestone gets a rich color from the process of decomposing animals.
- Carboniferous Limestone is found in the regions of the United Kingdom and Wales.
- Coquina is formed predominantly from shell fragments.
- Coral rags are composed of decomposed coral compared to other limestones. It has more of a rubbery texture.
- Chalk is composed of calcium carbonate and has a soft texture and is white.
- Fossiliferous limestone contains calcium carbonate (CaCO3) that features an abundance of fossil material or traces.
- Lithographic limestone is classified by its fine grain texture.
- Oolite is formed from small grains called ooids, made from calcium carbonate and iron.
- Travertine is formed from deposits made by mineral springs.
- Tufa is porus and forms when carbonate material is formed in warm water.
Consumption of Limestone
As limestone is created from organic materials that are safe for consumption.
Through its formation process, limestone becomes rich in many different minerals and is rich in calcium.
One compound in limestone, slaked lime, or calcium hydroxide possesses nutrients that our bodies need.
It all comes down to how you consume it.
There are ways that limestone can benefit your health and there are also ways that it can be detrimental.
Limestone powder is sold in packages at specialty markets.
The powder is created by crushing the rocks down until it has a very fine texture.
The powder can be mixed into water or other food products.
One popular method is the use of pink limestone to make limestone water.
The natural mineral water is often used in cooking fried food or pickling.
The natural characteristics of the limestone water yield a crispy texture.
Other limestone powders can be dissolved into water to provide calcium and mineral support.
One method where people often find themselves eating limestone directly is through the consumption of chalk, in moderation, which can provide a source of calcium and zinc.
Oftentimes, people who crave chalk are suffering from malnutrition or a lack of minerals.
Low red blood cells and a lack of zinc can promote this desire.
Slaked lime is also used within the food industry in different applications.
Used as an agent in the pickling process, slaked lime results in crunchy pickled vegetables.
It is also processed and used with digestive aids.
Consuming slaked lime directly can lead to further complications.
People can experience the development of illnesses that can sometimes be fatal.
Consumption Around the World
Many places around the world have a market for the consumption of limestone.
None match the popularity of consuming it as in India.
In India, it is common for people to use slaked lime to create what is called ‘paan’.
Paan is a wrapped bundle of a betel leaf and an araca nut.
The slaked lime is added to keep the properties of the araca nut active.
They then chew on the bundle.
India also promotes the use of limestone in water to promote healthy bones.
The level of calcium that is available provides a strong source of vitamins for those who are deficient.
Naswar is another popular method of consuming limestone.
It is dipping tobacco that is crafted from tobacco leaves, calcium hydroxide, and ash.
Naswar is not only popular in India, but also throughout neighboring countries as well.
What Ailments Benefit from Limestone?
Limestone consumption is said to treat several different ailments and illnesses that you may be suffering from.
People have seen relief from joint pain or inflammation.
This is due to both the calcium content and the antioxidant properties that are found in limestone.
One common use for limestone is to promote healthy digestion.
When consumed in moderation in water or another liquid, limestone can increase gastric juices within the stomach.
The levels of calcium in limestone can be beneficial in preventative care, such as strengthening bones and teeth.
While not confirmed, some people have seen an increase in memory due to their limestone consumption,
Interestingly, limestone can be used in a unique way that does not involve consumption and is as a replacement for antiseptic.
The minerals within limestone promote wound healing.
The paste that is made from limestone also works to rejuvenate the skin.
So Should You Consume Limestone?
We aren’t doctors.
if you have questions of a medical nature as it relates to whether you need to consume limestone for your health, the best course of action is to ask you physician, and follow his or her instructions.
However, people around the world are eating limestone with the goal of providing their bodies with an array of benefits resulting from the materials large mineral and calcium levels.