It’s no secret that eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is the best way to pack in the nutrients that our bodies need. However, there’s another powerful factor at play: bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to our ability to absorb the nutrients we get from food. If our bodies can’t absorb the nutrients we consume, it’s like we never ate that nutrient at all! One possible solution to this dilemma is through food combination. By pairing two different nutrients together in one meal, we improve the efficiency of their absorption and digestion. Check out these winning combos!
1. Fats + Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin. In order for it to be absorbed, fat needs to be present as well.
Sources of Vitamin K: Kale, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts
Sources of Fat: Nuts, Oils, Avocados, etc.
Meal Idea: Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and de-stem 1 lb. brussels sprouts. Cut in quarters. Place in large bowl. Toss sprouts in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, & 1 tsp. garlic. Place on lined baking sheet and bake for 40 – 50 minutes.
2. Iron + Vitamin C
Iron is essential for creating red blood cells. And unfortunately, iron deficiency is quite common. Pairing vitamin C with plant-based sources of iron (which aren’t bioavailable to us) increases iron absorption.
Sources of Iron: Meat, Beans, Quinoa, Spinach
Vitamin C: Citrus, Strawberries, Bell Peppers
Meal Idea: Strawberry, Spinach, and Quinoa Salad
Ever put strawberries on a salad? It’s delicious! Simply toss strawberries and cooked quinoa on fresh spinach. Then drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar. It’s a lunch staple! Feel free to add chicken, sunflower seeds, and more veggies!
3. Calcium & Vitamin D
Calcium builds strong bones! However, in order for it to be absorbed, plenty of vitamin D needs to be readily available.
Calcium: Kale, yogurt, cheese
Vitamin D: Salmon, tuna, egg yolks
Meal Idea: Grilled Salmon and Roasted Broccoli
For the roasted broccoli, simply toss broccoli in 1 tablespoon olive oil, season, place on a lined baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Written by GUADS staff member Angelina with contributions from mindbodygreen.com, and casadekarma.com, and womensday.com