Eating healthy, well-balanced meals that contain a variety of antioxidant-rich foods is integral if you are trying to obtain a wide variety of nutrients. While it’s beneficial to focus on getting the many vitamins and minerals in your diet, how you combine these foods should be of equal importance.
Certain foods need to be eaten together in order to optimize nutrient absorption. How the body absorbs nutrients is just as important as the nutrients themselves. When the body cannot properly absorb the nutrients, it’s almost like they were never eaten. Enhancing your bioavailability (the body’s ability to absorb nutrients) is as easy pairing the right foods together.
When you are planning out your meals, make sure to think about nutrient relationships. This can take time to learn, but we have faith that you’ll be great at it! Here are some ideas for increasing your nutrient absorption.
Fats & Fat-Soluble Vitamins
When we say “fats,” we are referring to healthy fats, which include extra virgin olive oil, avocados, sunflower oil, walnut oil, and assorted nuts and seeds. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. The body has an easier time absorbing these vitamins when they are consumed with healthy fats. Great food combos include avocado dressing (fat) over a kale salad (vitamin K). You can also use olive oil (fat) with roasted sweet potatoes (vitamin A).
Bananas And Almond Butter
You need protein to build muscle, but what people don’t tell you is that the protein needs to be accompanied by complex carbohydrates to help supply your muscles with energy. We suggest bananas and almond butter for this because bananas are great sources of complex carbs and almond butter contains healthy protein.
Black Pepper And Turmeric
We swear that turmeric has superpowers. It contains curcumin, which is powerful antioxidant that contains anti-inflammatory properties. Did you know eating turmeric with black pepper can increase your body’s ability to absorb curcumin by 2,000 percent? You can season cauliflower or potatoes with turmeric and black pepper, or make curries with these two spices.
Vitamin C And Iron
It is easy to get iron from plant-based foods, believe it or not. Plant-based iron is more difficult to absorb, but the body has an easier time absorbing it when combined with vitamin C-rich foods. Try eating iron and vitamin C food combinations like strawberries (vitamin C) and oatmeal (iron), or a citrus vinaigrette (vitamin C) on a spinach salad (iron).
Sulforaphanes And Selenium
Selenium can be found in a variety of plant-based foods, including chia seeds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, shiitake mushrooms, or lima/pinto beans. Selenium works synergistically with sulforaphanes, which are antioxidant compounds that contain sulfur. When you combine selenium and sulforaphanes, their respective antioxidant powers increase. Try mixing broccoli (sulforaphane) with black beans (selenium) or shiitake mushrooms (selenium) with kohlrabi (sulforaphane).