When we think of living a healthy lifestyle, two words usually are what automatically come to mind – diet and exercise. As a health and fitness coach, it’s my mission to encourage you to transform your habits, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and sustain a good exercise schedule. But I’d be doing my job wrong if that were all I were doing and not touching on other lifestyle areas essential to body and mind health. A huge part of my job is making sure the diet and exercise plans we have you on are optimized for YOU, and that you’re getting the most out of them in every way possible.
Today I’m going to talk about diet, eating healthy, and making the food you eat work, HARD, and effectively distribute all those good nutrients throughout your body. This is called bioavailability – the proportion of the nutrients you eat that actually enter the bloodstream, are disbursed to the necessary body parts, and have an effect on your healthy lifestyle .
Some foods, even very healthy foods, don’t have the intended health effects on our body because, eaten by themselves, the nutrients in them aren’t easily absorbed into our bloodstream. So they need a partner, another food, to make them more bioavailable and easier to absorb from the gut into the bloodstream. For example, iron has a higher bioavailability when it is consumed with Vitamin C, and carotenoids are better absorbed when a small amount of fat or oil is consumed along with it .
The different types of nutrient-rich foods we eat can also affect bioavailability. Want to make sure you’re getting the calcium you need? Look to kale! Studies show that the calcium the body absorbs through kale is much more bioavailable than the calcium absorbed through dairy .
Let’s put this information into practical use. What should your diet look like in order to optimize the bioavailability of the food you’re eating? First, start thinking of your food as the type of nutrient it is: macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients. Macronutrients are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. These are the most bioavailable nutrients, easily absorbed into the body. The other two, micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients (natural plant compounds) need a little extra help with absorption. Pairing macronutrients, in small amounts, with micronutrients and phytonutrients gives us the best bioavailability. And cooking foods together is a great way to do this !
Combine To Win
Here are three food combination suggestions that you can use to make sure you’re getting the most out of your food!
Citrus dressing (preferably lime) on your leafy green, veggie rich salad. Lime enhances the bioavailability of iron in leafy greens such as spinach and kale. Throw some chopped up carrots in there too, because the citrus also enhances beta-carotin .
Fish and leafy greens. The (good!) fats in the fish increase the bioavailability of the nutrient-rich greens, so cook them together or put your just-cooked fish on a salad .
Fresh lemon juice in green tea. The antioxidants in natural green tea are made more bioavailable by the citrus properties of the fresh squeezed lemon .
No Excuses: Learn More
Want to learn how to optimize your lifestyle? Count on me for this partnership. Schedule your FREE Energy Audit here or call 770.835.5490 NOW. Let’s chat about yours goals, get tips and a plan going forward.