Top Food Nutrient Combinations


By: Gaia Staff  |  July 24, 2009

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.

Examples:

  • 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.

Examples:

  • 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.

Example:

  • Limit pop consumption which is extremely high in phosphoric acid and only drink away from Calcium rich beverages like fortified soy milk.

 

Karla Heintz

Karla Heintz, BSc, is recognized as a nutrition expert by many television and radio stations. Her life is committed to finding better answers in all aspects of health and uses this information in her daily teachings.

Karla was raised on a farm and always understood why nature truly is the best medicine for so many things. As a Gymnastics Coach for 9 years, she always had a passion for wellness and sports which took her to the University of Saskatchewan where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition. From then on she has worked with countless athletes striving for their next win, and people with a desire to better their bodies as well as their kitchen cupboards.
She has been a writer and monthly guest for numerous health publications and television/radio networks across Canada since 2005. She too is a former radio columnist on ‘Children’s Health’, and presently is an active speaker and consultant to businesses, families and athletes. With her experience of working with families on improving wellness, and getting the apron dirty in the kitchen directing a food camp for children, she was inspired to write her first book, ‘Picky? Not Me, Mom!’.
Karla is a strong believer in your body being only as good as how you care for it. This inspires her daily on helping others find better solutions in our ‘busy’ society .


 

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