Monday 7 March 2022

Optimum Nutrients Absorption from Food Duo

Food can be a friend or foe- it greatly depends on how you choose to deal with food, that is, what you eat, how you eat and when you eat. Some food pairing can badly interfere with digestion, causing headaches, drowsiness, bloating and may hamper your weight loss goals. On the other hand, some can be a game-changer in your nutritional status.

Combining foods in a balanced and colourful way optimizes nutrient absorption. Diversifying your snacks and meals with colourful fruits and vegetables, protein and healthy fats is a realistic way to achieve it. For instance, taking citrus juice together with green tea increases the absorption of antioxidants in multiple folds. While there is no rule of thumb for combining foods; avoid combining the following foods together

Dairy and animal protein- foods within these food groups should not be paired or consumed at the same time because the calcium inhibits the absorption of iron and vice versa leaving you with little of either as bioavailable.

Milk and tea(coffee, green tea, Lipton etc): the caffeine in some tea products inhibits the absorption of calcium while the casein (milk protein) nullifies most antioxidants benefits in the tea.  

Acidic fruits/juice with starchy foods: having oatmeal with a serving of citrus fruit or a cup of orange juice may seem an ideal meal to break the night’s fast, but the stomach doesn’t really like it. This is because the acidic fruits destroy the enzyme responsible for digesting starches. This could make you start experiencing some tummy troubles earlier enough.

Green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits: green leafy vegetables are rich in non-heme (plant-based) iron, in the absence of vitamin C, the absorption is inhibited. Orange or any other citrus fruit is loaded with this water-soluble vitamin. Consuming your green leafy vegetable with citrus fruit enhances the absorption of iron. Other foods with similar nutrient compositions you could pair include.

Oats and nuts: this duo gives a powerful dose of copper and iron, which aid the formation of haemoglobin-oxygen transporting cells in the body. They are not only rich in micronutrients, but also in protein, and healthy fats and vitamins, which would leave you full for longer hours.

Watermelon and avocado: watermelon and any other red-coloured food are loaded with lycopene-a key nutrient for eye health. This antioxidant is fat-soluble, pairing it with any fat-soluble containing food is the surest way to optimize its absorption.

Sweet potatoes with avocado: sweet potatoes especially the orange flesh contains beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A (a fat-soluble vitamin) while avocado is rich in healthy fat. Vitamin A keeps the skin, eye, and immune system in good condition while the healthy fats increase the satiety values and boost vitamin A absorption.

Red apple and dark chocolate: this duo has the potential to improve cardiovascular health. Red apple contains quercetin flavonoid which acts as an anti-inflammatory while catechins is found in dark chocolates is an antioxidant. Quercetin reduces blood clots while antioxidant catechins work against hardened arteries. They reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease.

Meats and carrots: meats are rich in zinc while carrots contain a high quantity of vitamin A- a nutrient needed for cell growth and maintenance of good vision. The absence of zinc limits the bioavailability of vitamin A.

For more food combination suggestions, contact a registered dietitian

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