Want to know how to make your nutrients go the extra mile? It’s all about absorption – you could be eating wholesome foods yet still fail to meet the mark in your annual blood tests. It might not be what you’re eating, but how you’re eating. Here are some essential nutrient combos to ensure you’re actually reaping the benefits.
Eating a variety of nutritious foods is essential for good health, but did you know that some nutrients work better together? Certain nutrient pairings can enhance absorption, allowing your body to make the most of the vitamins and minerals you consume. In this blog, we'll explore five nutrient pairings that not only boost absorption but also contribute to improved overall health.
Iron with Vitamin C: Unlocking the Power of Non-Heme Iron
Iron is crucial for oxygen transport in the body, but not all iron sources are created equal. Heme iron, found in animal products, is more easily absorbed than non-heme iron, which comes from plant-based sources like spinach and beans. However, pairing non-heme iron-rich foods with vitamin C can significantly enhance absorption. The vitamin C found in citrus fruits, capsicum, and broccoli converts non-heme iron into a form that your body can readily use. So, next time you enjoy a spinach salad, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over it for a delicious and nutrient-enhancing combination.
Zinc and Sulphur: Aiding Immune Function and Detoxification
Zinc is essential for a well-functioning immune system and various other bodily processes. To boost zinc absorption, make sure you’re including sulphur-rich foods in your meal:
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts
These foods contain sulphur-containing amino acids that form complexes with zinc, which you’ll find in seafood and poultry, making it more available for absorption in the intestines. Including garlic and onions in your savoury dishes not only adds flavour but also helps your body utilise zinc effectively – win, win!
Calcium with Vitamin D: Strong Bones and Beyond
Calcium is renowned for its role in maintaining strong bones and teeth. However, for calcium to be properly absorbed and utilised, it requires an essential partner: vitamin D. So if you’re taking a calcium tablet or consuming calcium-rich foods to keep your bones dense and stave off osteoporosis, make sure you’re not forgetting this integral piece of the puzzle. Vitamin D helps regulate calcium absorption in the gut and supports its incorporation into bone tissue. While vitamin D can be synthesised by the skin when exposed to sunlight, dietary sources like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), fortified products and egg yolks can also contribute to your intake. Ensuring an adequate intake of both calcium and vitamin D is vital for bone health. Don’t forget to add healthy fats to the mix for the ultimate trifecta – olive oil, yoghurt and nuts are all great options.
Folate and Vitamin B12: Vital for DNA Synthesis
Folate (vitamin B9) and vitamin B12 are critical for DNA synthesis and cell division. Their partnership is especially crucial for red blood cell formation. Vitamin B12 helps activate folate in its biologically active form, ensuring that it can support these essential processes. While folate is abundant in leafy greens and legumes, vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal products like meat, fish, and dairy, though you’ll also find it fortified into a range of foods like plant milk and cereal. Ensuring a balanced intake of both nutrients, whether through dietary sources or supplements, is essential for overall health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Antioxidants: Combating Inflammation
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon and walnuts, possess anti-inflammatory properties that benefit heart health and overall well-being. Pairing omega-3-rich foods with antioxidants, such as those found in colourful fruits and vegetables, enhances their anti-inflammatory effects. Antioxidants protect omega-3 fatty acids from oxidation, allowing them to better combat inflammation in the body. So, consider incorporating a variety of produce alongside your omega-3 sources for a powerful nutritional combination – take a look at some interesting combos:
- Broccoli and egg frittata
- Berries with walnuts
- Hemp and mango smoothie
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