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.
Herbology and Your Health: Well-Being From the Ground Up
We often think of herbs as items that we sprinkle on our food to add depth of flavor, plant in our kitchen gardens, or even the stuff of famous folk songs – parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. However, herbs are part of an ancient tradition of powerful healing tools that spans centuries, religions, and geography. Known as “herbology,” the therapeutic use of plants, herbs, and botany can aid in treating and preventing illness, promote healthy lifestyles, and even help with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
The dictionary definition of herbology is “the art or practice of using herbs and herbal preparations to maintain health and alleviate or cure disease.” Unlike pharmaceuticals which are highly refined and simple one-chemical compounds, herbal medicines consist of living or dried plants and contain hundreds to thousands of interrelated compounds.
As opposed to traditional medicine, which looks to treat a specific illness or ailment, herbology’s goal is to support the individual’s intrinsic health and is also a part of a holistic approach to mind, body, and spirit. Herbology has been part of humanity’s quest for optimum health, from Ayurvedic to Chinese, to Native American, and even modern approaches to medicine.