Eating all the right fruits, veggies, and healthy foods isn’t very much help if your body isn’t getting all that it can out of them. Check out these tips to learn how you can help your body to absorb more nutrients and get the most out of your healthy diet.
1. Pair Your Foods Properly
Different nutrients paired together are more readily absorbed by the body than just one.
The exact mechanism isn’t entirely clear, but researchers have identified a few foods that go particularly well together.
Pair avocado and tomatoes, for example, and you’ll see greater health benefits than from eating just one of them. Vitamin C-rich foods and green tea together can help increase absorption of catechins (antioxidants).
And when you eat all three major B vitamins together (thiamine, B-6, and B-12), they work better to prevent artery damage.
2. Add a Little Fat to Veggies
A low-fat dressing on your salad may actually be preventing you from fully absorbing all of the available nutrients. While it’s wise to stay away from super heavy and calorie-dense creamy dressings, a little bit of olive oil on your salad or used to cook your roasted or sauteed veggies can actually help you get the most out of the nutritional value of your meal.
Why? It turns out that the body needs a little bit of fat to digest carotenoids. The same goes for other phytochemicals, which include the countless antioxidants that you can get from vegetables.
3. Don’t Drink and Eat
An alcoholic beverage with dinner might enhance the flavor of your food, but alcohol can prevent you from absorbing some of the nutrients in your meal.
B vitamins are especially affected, but alcohol can also keep your body from fully absorbing and using zinc and folic acid, as well.
In fact, this lack of absorption can occur from drinking beyond moderation in general, even if your eating and drinking is separate. So for the best possible nutrient absorption, consider reducing your alcohol intake.
4. Chew Your Food Well
Digestion as a process essentially involves breaking down food from large pieces into smaller and smaller pieces that your body can use on a micro level.
Of course, this process starts in your mouth, with both digestive enzymes in your saliva and the actual physical breakdown of food through chewing.
You can make the rest of the digestion process easier for your body by thoroughly chewing your food to make the pieces smaller and to give the enzymes in your mouth the time to do their jobs.
5. Take a Probiotic
Finally, remember that the friendly bacteria in your digestive system also aid in breaking down your food and allowing your body to use the nutrients. Taking a daily probiotic can help to keep your gut bacteria flourishing, active, and digesting your food.
Plus, probiotics can also help ease certain other stomach ailments, which can reduce inflammation in the gut and further help your body get the most out of the food that you put into it.
Do you do anything to try to increase nutrient absorption? Share your methods with us in the comments section!