You are what you eat, but that’s only part of the story – it’s about what you absorb. Nutrient absorption is the process of taking nutrients from the digestive system into the blood so they can be used in the body. In other words, it’s about maximizing all the goodness from the healthy foods you eat.
Unfortunately, research shows many Americans have at least one vitamin or mineral deficiency. Understanding nutrients and how to improve absorption is a complex and confusing topic!
Here are simple tips to make sure you are optimizing what you eat.
Eat Unprocessed Foods
First is to make sure that you’re eating whole foods. Whole foods are foods that have few ingredients and have not been processed. When food is processed, fat, sugar, and salt are typically added, and important nutrients are usually removed. And eating highly processed food causes inflammation and can be a reason for nutrient deficiency. If you are eating whole foods, you are 90% there for optimizing nutrient absorption.
Mix It Up
Make sure you are eating various foods and diversifying how you prepare them. Does your plate include different colors of foods? And are you changing up how you cook your food? Incorporate a combination of raw, steamed, and roasted fruits and veggies.
But do you want to up level your nutrient absorption? Make sure buy local. You’ll likely have more nutrients in those fruits and vegetables when you buy locally. When fruits and vegetables are harvested they lose between 15-60% of their nutrients within 72 hours. If you are buying from a large grocery chain, the produce has been in transit for some time and potentially degraded. Also, store your produce in the refrigerator. Fruits and veggies do not like light and heat and, when exposed to these conditions, will lose nutrients that way.
Looking for a simple and colorful meal to optimize your nutrient absorption? Try my Food & Mood Salad recipe!
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