Top Food Nutrient Combinations
Learn about the important food combinations for optimum nutrient absorption.
Getting the most nutrition out of your kitchen fridge or backyard garden can be as easy as applying a few main principles. While some nutrients taken together improve the absorption of others, some nutrients can inhibit absorption all together.
Foods that Complement Absorption
Vitamin C and Iron
Iron comes in two forms, heme and non-heme. Non-heme iron is the found in plants and is not as well absorbed as heme iron found in animal products. Vitamin C helps switch iron to the ferrous state, which is easier absorbed.
- Add beets to a shake or meal
- Squeeze a fresh orange or lemon on top of a spinach salad
- Add sliced strawberries to any breakfast cereal; hot or cold
- Add green peas to your kidney bean salad
Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D
Vitamin D acts like a traffic controller guiding calcium into your bone to make them strong. Since Vitamin D is hard to obtain in sufficient quantities from the sun a supplement is best recommended to take alongside Calcium.
Fat soluble Vitamins and Fat
Fat soluble vitamins include Vitamins A, D, E and K which require fat to be present to be ideally absorbed in the body.
- Olive oil drizzled on baked sweet potatoes
- Unsalted almonds or walnuts as a great afternoon snack
- Mashed avocado spread on whole grain toast
- Pine nuts sprinkled on asparagus or broccoli
Foods that Inhibit Absorption
Calcium and Iron
These minerals bind together preventing absorption in the body. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed a dose of 165 mg of Calcium (in Milk form) reduced iron absorption as much as 50-60%. It is recommended for Calcium to be taken at bedtime for not only improved absorption but a better sleep too for its muscle relaxing properties.
Example items to not combine:
- Broccoli with Kidney Beans
- Kale with Lentils
Oxalic Acid and Calcium or Magnesium
Oxalic acid binds to calcium to form insoluble salts that cannot be absorbed. It too hampers the absorption of Magnesium.
Example items to not combine:
- Almonds or cashews with Sesame seeds
- Spinach and fortified soy/rice milk
Phosphoric Acid and Calcium
Phosphoric acid binds to calcium in the intestine forming calcium phosphates which are not absorbed.
- Limit pop consumption which is extremely high in phosphoric acid and only drink away from Calcium rich beverages like fortified soy milk.
Now is the Time for an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse
Spring has been shown to be the best time for a cleanse, which may just be the best action you can take for your health today. The ancient science of Ayurveda provides a safe, evidence-based, and comprehensive way to do it.
Cleansing, or detoxing the body, has been a key practice throughout the 5,000 years of Ayurveda’s history as a system of natural healing. Now, research explains the impressive results of the Ayurvedic cleanse.
Dr. John Douillard is a leading Ayurvedic practitioner who has been incorporating Ayurvedic detox programs in his practice for decades. He explains that poor digestion is at the core of the need for detoxification.
“I think most people don’t realize that our ability to digest well is directly linked to our ability to detoxify well,” Doulliard said. “In one survey, [it was] reported that 74 percent of the American population have a digestive imbalance of some kind, suggesting that not only are we not getting the nutrition that we need, but we’re also not getting the waste out as efficiently as we could — and there are waste, toxins, and pollutants everywhere. So, even if you eat really clean, which is obviously a really important thing, you’re still being exposed to toxicity, which means that you have to be able to digest well to detoxify that. That’s why Ayurveda is all about making sure with every change of the season, we do our best to reset — a deep rejuvenation to repair the digestion and detox organs and pathways. They’re actually creating a whole new population of bugs in your gut that are based on this year’s model, which gives you the stability and immunity for the entire year.”
Given these compelling reasons, what are the best indicators to notice if it’s time for you to do a cleanse?
“How is your digestion? Do you have a food intolerance? When you look at your tongue in the morning, if it’s white or coated, Ayurveda calls it ‘ama’ or undigested food. When you’re toxic, you’re tired, and not getting the energy from the lymph delivery of fat — your immune system is compromised and you can’t take the trash out, so it starts coming out through your skin. This gives you brain fog, headaches, rashes, indigestion; all these things begin to happen,” Douillard said.