Nutritional teamwork between vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are team pieces, so if you want to get the most nutritional value from each meal, consider which foods work best together. Iron and vitamin C are the most well-known nutritional “team” because they work together to increase each other’s absorption. Thus, eating salad with your steak ensures better absorption of iron and vitamin C.
Calcium and vitamin D make another great team, although combining them in one meal takes a bit more forethought. Dairy products are the main nutritional source of calcium, while our body can create vitamin D from sunlight. We can also absorb vitamin D from foods such as avocado or eggs, so if you don’t feel like drinking a milkshake while basking in the sun, throw a beaten egg into the shake or mix it up. an avocado in a cup of greek yogurt to make avocado. dip (add lemon juice and garlic for more flavor).
Nutritional “teams” can also consist of two minerals. Potassium and magnesium work together to maintain heart function and the neurological system. Magnesium also helps transport potassium in the body, so magnesium deficiency can lead to potassium deficiency. Both minerals are readily available in most meats, fruits, and vegetables, so the right levels can usually be achieved through a balanced diet. Coconut water is a rich and refreshing source of potassium and magnesium, if you’re worried about not getting the right levels in your daily diet.
Vitamin A is an independent player, readily absorbed from brightly colored vegetables such as spinach and sweet potato, as well as meats, eggs, and dairy products. Once vitamin A is stored in the liver, it depends on zinc to be transported to body tissues, so a lack of zinc will increase the risk of vitamin A deficiency. The most common symptom of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness, when vision does not adapt to darkness. So if you’re lying awake at night feeling like you’re blindfolded, consider a bowl of pumpkin soup before lunch and dinner to supplement your intake. (Stir a spoonful of tahini paste into the soup or snack on the pumpkin seeds afterwards to make sure you get enough zinc too).
You can have fun pairing your favorite foods with their strongest teammates, but when that seems too much of a hassle, consider some of the foods that work on their own as a complete “team.” Blueberries, for example, are an excellent source of iron and vitamin C. Milk contains vitamin A and zinc, and salmon provides both vitamin D and calcium. With a wide range of fresh foods available, there is a nutritious “team” to suit everyone at any time of the day.