True or false: Your body uses all of the nutrients you eat. While the answer may surprise you, this statement is actually false.
When most of us look at food labels or research the nutrients in the foods we regularly eat, we tend to think that our bodies will use all of the vitamins and minerals listed, giving us a greater level of health. However, that isn’t always the case.
Your level of absorption of the various nutrients you consume daily depends on a number of different factors. According to some of the top medical experts in the field, these include:
- Eating nutrients that tend to block the absorption of other nutrients (like how zinc can prevent your body from absorbing iron or copper);
- Your high level of stomach acids that break down the nutrients;
- How you prepare your food.
Therefore, there are many times when you may be eating certain nutrients in order to improve your health, yet your body isn’t able to use them, potentially leaving you deficient.
How To Get Your Nutrients
Fortunately, there are some relatively easy things you can do to increase the amount of vitamins and minerals your body is able to absorb, giving you full benefits from the foods you choose to eat.
1. Eat Foods As Soon After They’re Picked As Possible
The longer a food sits, the more nutrients it loses. This means that you want to eat foods as close to their pick date as possible. One way to achieve this goal is to grow your own.
If that isn’t an option, there’s always a local farmer’s market. Most of the fruits and vegetables sold there were picked within the previous day or two, leaving them full of the vitamins and minerals they are supposed to contain.
2. Store Your Produce The Right Way
If you’re not going to eat your fruits and vegetables right away, you want to make sure you store them properly so they retain their nutritional value.
For instance, spinach, broccoli, and leafy greens are best when stored in a cold, humid environment, like in the crisper in your refrigerator. And when it comes to your canned goods, they’re best kept in cool, dark environments, like in a cellar or basement.
Becoming familiar with the proper storage methods for the foods you regularly eat can help you store them in a way that they’ll be most beneficial to your body.
3. Juice Your Fruits and Vegetables
Since eating raw fruits and veggies is so good for you, juicing makes them even better as using this particular method helps break down the foods, making them easier for your body to digest.
Taking this approach can have marked improvements on your health above and beyond nutrient absorption, such as it did for one woman who used juicing combined with integrative nutrition to overcome her skin condition.
4. Use the Most Nutrient-Retaining Cooking Methods
How you cook your foods can affect their nutrient content as well. Ideally, you want to bake or roast your veggies, or sauté them in a little bit of olive or canola oil.
Additionally, it’s best to cook them over lower levels of heat for shorter amounts of time as both of these can affect the food’s nutrient retention during the cooking process too.
Do these four things and your body will get the most nutrients that the foods you eat have to offer. After all, that is the point, isn’t it?
Get more like this
in your inbox
Sign up for our daily email with fitness and nutrition tips, diets and weight loss programs, health news, and more.