10 Effective Ways Of Getting The Most Nutrients From Your Food

10 Effective Ways Of Getting The Most Nutrients From Your Food

Wondering if your nutritional needs are being met every day? Have you been eating right, exercising...basically doing everything under the sun to maximise nutrient intake and still nothing good seems to be happening? 

You’ll be surprised to read that traditional cooking methods often destroy nutrients in food. Food is fuel for life, but there are many factors that affect the quality of your meals. From cooking temperatures to methods and the distance the food has covered to reach your plate, everything affects nutrition. Vegetables and fruits in particular have a tendency to lose their nutrition very quickly.

Let’s start off by talking about the stuff that can inhibit nutrient absorption: Processed and sugary foods - There are several factors contributing to poor nutrient absorption. One of the main ones that often goes unnoticed is eating highly processed and sugary foods. These foods lack nutrients and are high in unhealthy substances which robs the body of nutrients, mainly magnesium.

Certain medications - medicines like antacids, antidepressants and blood pressure or hormone medicines could interfere with the body’s ability to extract nutrients from foods. Stress - stress increases the need for nutrients, especially vitamin C, B and Magnesium. When these nutrients are not met effectively it leads to irritability and fatigue.

Alcohol Consumption - increased alcohol consumption leads to lowered digestive enzymes. This means that people who drink excessively are not able to break down the food properly in the first place. If you have been noticing changes in digestion, energy levels or the condition of your hair, skin and nails then you might have some nutrient deficiencies. Let’s now take a look at how you can get the most nutrients from the food that and meet your everyday nutritional needs:

1. Vitamin C rich Food With Iron Rich Food:

Let’s begin by talking about the perfect food pair. Eating vitamin C and iron-rich food together is better than eating them alone. Iron is an important nutrient that provides proper bodily functions. Vitamin C also gets rid of damaging free radicals and ensures proper functioning of the immune system. 

The combination of these two can increase the amount of iron absorption of food, especially from plant-based sources. Starting your day by having food like sliced strawberries with oatmeal, a glass of orange juice with fortified cereal or any other combination of this dynamic duo will surely give visible results in terms of better nutrition absorption.

2. Include Healthy Fats In Every Meal:

Healthy fats are found in foods like avocado, chia seeds, fatty fish also nuts. They are extremely good for heart health, lower the risk of developing the disease and even regulate cholesterol levels. Your body requires these kinds of special fats to help absorb a host of vitamins and nutrients which you could be missing out on.

Eating vitamins without fat is like putting gas in a car without having anyone to drive it. Especially when it comes to fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E or K which needs some limited amount of fats to get properly absorbed in the body. The best way to do it is by eating avocado salad, cottage cheese or sweet potatoes on a regular basis.

3. Include Probiotics:

Bacteria found in probiotics like yoghurt have long been recognized for improving gut health and the digestive system. Research has been in favour of these helpful little critters, which, along with improving gut health, also increases the level of nutrient absorption which leads to improved immune function.

There are numerous benefits of eating probiotics every day which include - prevention of diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, urinary tract infections, digestive tract infection and higher energy levels. Nourishing the gut by populating it with good bacteria is a sure way of boosting healthy bacteria in the body. Try something new like probiotic-based drinks like kefir, kombucha and Sauerkraut. These will improve nutrient status by making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients from food.

4. Eat Local Produce:

Organic foods are all the rage now, and it’s not slowing down. Avoiding pesticides and synthetic additives are just a few positives of organic food but they’re also an amazing way of optimizing your vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat.

Did you know that soon after harvest, vegetables and fruits lose their nutritional value? Opting for locally grown, fresh produce guarantees that it has been plucked recently and not pulled out a week later from a storage container.

5. Don’t Overcook Vegetables:

Let’s start off by answering the question, why do we cook?

Cooking vegetables is a way of maximising nutrient absorption and stimulating proper digestion. However, you should know the right way of cooking or at least recognise when the food is being overcooked. Overcooking food means leaving them on heat, light or boiled for more time than necessary which drains out all the nutritious goodness.

Also, remember not to cut up the veggies into tiny pieces which tend to lose essential vitamins and minerals quickly during the cooking process. Using less water or pressure cooking and steaming vegetables are a few ways to retain nutrients and make them more absorbable in the body.

6. Stay Hydrated:

Hydration is one factor that can make or break digestion. Water is a key component that ensures proper digestion since it breaks down food and enables the body to absorb all the nutrients. When you haven’t had enough water the bodily changes are immediate and visible. Your digestive system relies on water to transport nutrients since the blood becomes incapable of transporting all the nutrients int the absence of proper water content.

This is when staying hydrated comes into play. Contrary to popular belief, drinking water during mealtime does not dilute the nutrients, it rather helps in better breakdown and absorption. Feel like you’re not drinking enough water? Here is everything you need to know about the amount of water you should be drinking every day depending on your age, weight and more

7. Avoid Drinking Tea During Mealtimes:

While tea comes with a host of health benefits when you drink it is crucial. The components in it help to boost the immune system, fight inflammation and ward off certain cancers. Reduced risk of developing arthritis or diabetes can be contributed to the polyphenols present in tea leaves.

However, these polyphenols can have a negative impact when it comes to nutrient absorption when you drink tea right after meals. It inhibits iron absorption and iron is an important factor for transporting oxygen around the blood. Some of the best sources for iron include dark leafy greens, tofu, beans, lentils and baked potatoes.

8. Pair Vitamin D Rich Foods With Calcium-Rich Foods:

Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most essential components for building strong bones that stay healthy as you age. It also enables blood clotting, muscles to contract and the heart to beat. Did you know that every day your body loses calcium through skin, hair, sweat and nails?

When it is unable to extract calcium from food, it starts eating away the calcium in bones. When vitamin D rich foods like egg yolk, liver and fortified milk are paired with calcium-rich foods, they promote better absorption of calcium.

9. Eat A Variety Of Food In One Meal:

In order for the body to function smoothly a combination of various macronutrients and water is needed. This means that every combination of nutrient helps one another to work properly and reach its full potential. Eating a well balanced and nutritious meal consisting of the right amount of carbs,   protein, vitamins, minerals and fats nourishes the body.

Both macro and micronutrients are needed for the proper functioning of organs. For example, protein is broken down to maintain muscle health and carbs are converted into energy. However, we cannot ignore the importance of a healthy gut which breaks down food with digestive enzymes. Then nutrients are effectively absorbed by the gut that replenishes the body.

10. Make Some Lifestyle Changes:

Maybe you’ve been stressed out lately or you’ve been drinking a lot and eating junky food. If this sounds like you then maybe it’s time for some changes. Stress has a serious, negative impact on the digestion and absorption of nutrients processed in the gut. This happens because the intestines have a very tight barrier to protect the body from food-related bacteria.

When you’re in a stressful situation, this intestinal barrier is weakened allowing bacteria to enter the body and cause health problems. Similar is the case with excessive drinking. Think of ways to destress and limit your alcohol intake to maintain a healthy gut. Also, try to include regular exercising or any physical activity to help manage stress.

You should be mindful of your meals and what you’re putting into your body, especially when food is fuel for life. If your skin and hair seem dull or if you have been running low on energy then that’s a cue for you to take a hard look at your eating habits. Check out these nutrient-dense foods to include in your diet. Also, take a look at these superfoods to eat every day. These are some simple yet effective ways of getting your health back on track.

Is there a diet you follow? Has it been effective? Share your thoughts in the comments below!  

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