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06 May, 2021

3 food combinations to absorb more nutrients

Our body’s ability to absorb a nutrient from food is called nutrient bioavailability, and we can actually enhance the bioavailability of vitamins by combining certain foods. Here are 3 easy food combinations that improve nutrient absorption.

Health

VITAMIN C & IRON

Only 2-20% of the iron found in plant foods (called non-heme iron) is absorbed into the bloodstream. But studies have shown that the simultaneous consumption of 25-100 mg of vitamin C has been shown to increase the absorption of nonheme iron four-fold. Iron is an essential mineral and the major reason we need it is that it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body.

Pairing suggestions:

  • Black beans (iron) with red pepper (vitamin C) – (try our Feijoada recipe here)
  • Beans (iron) and broccoli (vitamin C) – (our Super Bowl on Fridge Fills is a great option containing broccoli with butter bean hummus and edamame beans)
  • Kale (iron) with orange (vitamin C) – (try this salad).

VITAMINS A, D, E, AND K WITH HEALTHY FATS

Healthy fats have been shown to significantly increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and veggies. Vitamins A, D, E and K (all fat-soluble vitamins) have a plethora of health benefits between them so it’s vital that we’re absorbing them properly.

Pairing suggestions:

  • Carrot sticks (vitamin A) with nut butter or hummus (fat) – (you’ll find carrot sticks with our red pepper hummus on our meal plans as a snack)
  • Berries with nuts and seeds (fat) – (a good example is our buckwheat granola with almond milk and berries found for breakfast on our meal plans)
  • Egg (vitamin D) with avocado (fat)

And it’s advisable to opt for a good quality dressing with your salads that contains healthy fats from cold-pressed oil, to better absorb the nutrients.

CALCIUM & VITAMIN D

Calcium and vitamin D work together to maintain bone health - calcium helps build and maintain bones, while vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. So even if you're taking in enough calcium, if you are vitamin D deficient then you may not be absorbing it properly.

Pairing suggestions:

  • Salmon (vitamin D) with kale (calcium) – (try our recipe for salmon burger with broccoli & kale here or order our Salmon Poke Bowl on Fridge Fills)
  • Mushroom (vitamin D) with leafy green veg such as kale, spinach and cabbage (calcium) – (try our recipe for mushroom and hispi cabbage with satay slaw here).
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