Eater’s Digest: How to Help Your Body Get What It Needs from Food

Everyone knows that what you eat affects your health. However, your food choices don’t tell the whole story. Many other factors also affect how well your body absorbs and processes the nutrients from your food, including how fresh the food is, how it’s been stored, and even how healthy your digestive system is. Make sure your food isn’t going to waste by learning how to get the most nutrition from it. These eight tips will help you get started.

 

Eat Locally Grown Fruits And Vegetables

Fruits and veggies contain the highest levels of nutrients after they’ve just been picked. After that, they start to degrade. In fact, the produce you see at your local supermarket may have lost up to 60% of its original vitamin content. Generally speaking, it’s best to eat fresh produce within 3 days of picking it, which means that local fruits and veggies are almost always a better choice than produce that’s been shipped across the country. Make a habit of visiting your local farmer’s market, or – better still – grow your own produce.

 

Eat The Right Foods Together

Some food pairings make it easier for your body to absorb nutrients from one or both of the foods. A few rules of thumb: it’s best to eat mushrooms, tomatoes, and green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and broccoli, with a healthy fat source, such as nuts, olive oil, or avocado. Beans and whole grains also complement each other. Even certain spice blends, such as turmeric and black pepper, enhance each other’s nutritional benefits.

 

Know Which Foods To Eat And How

Cooking breaks down the nutrients in some foods but improves the nutritional value of others. Most of the time, it’s best to eat green vegetables raw or cook them lightly. Yellow vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes, on the other hand, contain beta carotene, which is easier for the body to process after these veggies have been cooked.

 

Don’t Throw Out That Cooking Water

If you cook vegetables by boiling them, don’t pour the cooking water down the drain. The nutrients that are lost from the veggies during the cooking process end up in the water. Save that water for making soup, and you’ll avoid letting the nutrients go to waste.

 

Take Natural Supplements

Eating a nutritious, varied diet is important, but if you want to be sure that you’re getting everything you need from your food, natural supplements are the way to go. A multivitamin or an insoluble fiber supplement will give you the peace of mind of knowing all your dietary bases are covered.

 

Give Your Digestion A Boost

It doesn’t matter how much nutrition is in your food if your digestive system isn’t healthy enough to absorb all of it. You can improve your digestive enzymes by eating yogurt or drinking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in water with your meals. Be aware that alcohol kills important digestive enzymes, so it’s healthiest to limit yourself to a just few glasses of wine or cocktails a week.

 

Cook With Cast Iron

Worried about not getting enough iron in your diet? Use a cast-iron pan. This old-fashioned kitchen staple actually increases the amount of iron in your food, especially when you use it to cook acidic foods such as tomatoes.

 

Making healthy food choices is one thing, but actually getting all the nutrition you need is another. Luckily, there are plenty of simple kitchen tricks that help you maximize the nutritional value of your food without sacrificing flavor. Put these tips to work for you to start getting as much benefit as possible from the foods you eat.

the author

"Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan."

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