You should be doing these things to absorb more nutrients from your food
By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)
Even if you take all the right steps to eat healthy, nourishing meals, you may not be absorbing as many nutrients from your food as you could be! There are many different factors that can enhance or reduce absorption of vitamins and minerals:
Don’t have tea or coffee with meals
Tea and coffee contain tannins which can reduce the absorption of minerals from your food, such as iron, calcium and zinc. Try to leave at least an hour between your cup of tea and your meal if possible.
Apple cider vinegar
Having a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before each meal assists with digestion as it stimulates the release of bile acids. If you aren’t an AVC fan, having some lemon water or chewing some rocket before your meals will do the trick!
Have fat with each meal
There are a specific class of vitamins known as ‘fat soluble vitamins’ which include vitamin A, D, E and K. These are much better absorbed when consumed with fat, so adding flax or olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado to your meals will boost their absorption!
Enjoy fermented foods
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir, kombucha and tempeh are loaded with probiotics (good bacteria) and will repopulate the gut and improve overall gut health.
Soak your nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds contain a property called phytic acid, which can bind to minerals in the digestive tract and reduce their absorption. Soaking your nuts and seeds in warm water with a pinch of salt can help to neutralise the phytic acid.
Reduce stress levels
When you’re stressed, your body is in ‘fight or flight’ mode, getting ready to run from a tiger. Your bodies energy and blood supply are focused away from the digestive system, making it more difficult to properly digest your food. The mineral Magnesium and amino acid Tyrosine helps to reduce stress levels.
Pair iron with vitamin C
Plant-based iron sources are much better absorbed and utilised by the body when they are consumed with a source of vitamin C. Tomato, capsicum, lemon, orange, kiwifruit, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are great vitamin C sources to include in or with your leafy green salads and lentil dishes.
Eat farm fresh or organic where possible
Fresh is best! Produce from the supermarket may be stored for up to 18 months before you purchase it, in which time the nutrient value has decreased substantially. Buying farm fresh produce and eggs where possible is beneficial to obtain the greatest number of nutrients.
Chew your food properly
Chewing your food releases saliva that has enzymes to break down food, and it also kickstarts the rest of the digestive system to get ready to digest. The more you chew your food, the better able the rest of your digestive system can digest it.
Leafy greens contain a compound called oxalates which binds to and reduces absorption of minerals such as calcium and iron. Steaming leafy greens greatly reduces the oxalate content.