Did you know that pairing different foods together can help increase the amount of nutrition you get from foods? Here are simple ways of getting more of these necessary nutrients.
Iron and Vitamin C
There are two types of iron: heme iron and nonheme iron. Heme iron comes from hemoglobin and myoglobin, it is easily absorbed by the body, and mostly comes from animal products such as meat, fish, and poultry. Non- heme iron is found primarily in plant foods such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains, and tofu. Nonheme iron is not as readily absorbed by the body. In addition to iron found naturally in foods, some foods have iron added to them, commercially known as “fortified foods.” Common foods that have been fortified with iron are breads, pasta, cereals, and some types of flour.
Some dietary factors have been shown to enhance the absorption of nonheme iron from foods. These include sugar, and ascorbic acid (also known as vitamin C). Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and juices, bell peppers, kiwis, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.
There are so many easy recipes to help with iron absorption, like this Sauteed Kale with Sweet Potato, Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Cakes, and Blueberry Tofu Smoothie.
Many well-known cancer-preventing antioxidants are fat-soluble, such as lycopene, beta-carotene, and lutein. These antioxidants are contained in brightly colored fruits and vegetables – think carrots, leafy greens, tomatoes, and much more. It is important to note that not all antioxidants are fat-soluble.
Try eating these foods with sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, cheeses, and oil-based dressings to increase nutrient absorption.
Turmeric and Black Pepper
Adding turmeric to dishes is great for both its flavor and its nutritional benefits. Turmeric is high in the compound curcumin, which can be difficult for the body to absorb. However, one study found that combining curcumin with a small about of black pepper increased the absorption of turmeric.
Try adding a pinch of pepper to our Spiced Cauliflower or Spicy Eggplant Stew to reap the benefits of turmeric.
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