Pair your food for better nutrition
Liz Applegate, PhD, has some great suggestions to get more power in your punch (or more kick in your mile!). You may have caught this in the February issue of Runner's World, but if not, read on to get a leg up on your next snack...
Cereal + Strawberries
= Higher iron absorption
Even if your bowl of iron-rich breakfast cereal contains 50 percent of your daily iron needs, your body will absorb only eight percent. Double the absorption simply by topping it with a vitamin C-rich food like strawberries or kiwi.
Whole-grain toast + Peanut butter
= Higher vitamin E absorption
Whole grains, especially breads, are a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps stave off muscle soreness after a tough workout and offers protection against heart disease. Your body, however, needs help getting vitamin E into your circulation. Pairing healthy fats, such as peanut butter or a dip of olive oil, with your whole grains helps the body access vitamin E.
Black beans + Salsa
= Higher mineral absorption
Beans are chock full of nutrients, but the phytic acid in them blocks absorption of important minerals, such as zinc and iron. To help your body absorb more minerals, eat beans with a vitamin C-rich food like salsa, since vitamin C counters the effects of phytic acid.
Yogurt + Jerusalem artichokes
= Higher calcium absorption and increased immunity
Yogurt is loaded with calcium and live bacteria that help keep your immune system strong. Jerusalem artichokes, also called sunchokes, contain inulin-an indigestible carbohydrate that helps promote the growth of healthy bacteria and increases calcium absorption in the intestines.
Mixed greens + Olive or canola oil
= Higher beta-carotene absorption Arugula, romaine, and other leafy greens are a great source of carotenoids like beta-carotene, which offer protection against cancer and Alzheimer's. But a study from Iowa State University revealed that virtually no carotenoids were absorbed by those who ate a salad with fat-free dressing, since carotenoids need fat to be utilized by the body.