Nutrition tips

Food that help your body absorb more minerals and vitamins

December 09 , 2019
Bara’a Haikal
Clinical nutritionist graduated from Hashemite university in Jordan, she is certified for many training courses including nutrition for diabetic cases...More

We all have those combinations of food we love eating together, but how we combine foods can majorly impact the benefit we get from them, increasing or reducing the absorption of important nutrients in our bodies.

Some elements in the diet can decease the bioavailability by chemical binding, while excess intake of one mineral or the presence of some vitamins in the meals we usually have can influence the absorption and metabolism of other minerals.

"It's not that one nutrient doesn't work; it's that two or three work better"

Eating certain food together helps with nutrient absorption

  • Vitamin C and Iron, vitamin C won’t just enhance the flavor but can enhance the absorption of iron, which comes in two forms Heme and non heme, Nonheme iron which is found in plants is not absorbed easily as heme iron found in animal products.

Vitamin C helps to switch iron to the ferrous state, which is easier to be absorbed.

Examples on how to combine them together: Squeeze a fresh orange or lemon on top of a spinach salad, or add sliced strawberries to any breakfast cereal 

  • Tomatoes and broccoli, For example, they have more powerful cancer-fighting qualities when eaten at the same time than when consumed alone.
  • Adding vinegar to rice, It has been shown that together they can decrease the glycemic index of the rice by as much as 35 percent.
  • Combining foods that contain carotenoids, such as tomatoes, with a healthful fat, such as olive oil, make it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients more readily.
  • The active form of vitamin D increases absorption of both calcium and magnesium, and inhibits excretion of calcium through the urine. Without vitamin D, calcium is very poorly absorbed.
  • Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K require fats to be absorbed. If you follow a low-fat diet, your absorption of these vitamins may decline.

Nutrients that inhibit absorption of other nutrients

  • Calcium & Iron: these minerals bind together preventing absorption in the body, both minerals bind the same transporter on the surface of intestinal absorptive cells.

Hence, they should not be taken at the same time and It is recommended for Calcium to be taken at bedtime, to improve absorption as well as getting better sleep for its muscle relaxing properties.

  • Oxalic acid and calcium: Oxalic acid binds to calcium to form insoluble salts that cannot be absorbed.

These tiny crystals can irritate the human tissues, and get lodged in the stomach, kidneys and bladder as "stones".

Food examples that are high in oxalic: Carrots, broccoli, spinach and potato, Kiwi, lemon and figs.