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How to get more nutrients out of what you eat every day

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You don’t have to completely overhaul your diet to ramp up your nutrition. These easy tweaks can enhance the way your body absorbs vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Slow down.

When your body is stressed, you are in sympathetic nervous system dominance.  This means you are ready to fight or flee that tiger chasing you; which also means digestion is shut down because who cares about digesting food when you need to escape a tiger! Unfortunately our daily lives are so stressful now that we are almost always in fight or flight stress mode.  So, before eating if you can take a few deeps breaths this will relax your nervous system and switch it over into parasympathetic (aka rest and digest mode). Then your stomach will begin secreting hydrochloric acid to break down your food. Also, while you chew your mouth releases the enzyme salivary amylase to break down carbohydrates and ensure proper digestion. If you're eating too fast, you're not chewing your food enough to allow the enzyme to work, which means you won't absorb all the nutrients.

Go raw (or lightly cook).

This manner of cooking best preserves the nutrients in produce.  When we over-cook our vegetables, we lose many of the vitamins and live enzymes.  Instead of roasting those vegetables, try flash steaming them.

Add C to Iron.

The iron in plant-based foods (spinach and lentils, for example) is less bioavailable to the body compared to the iron found in red meat. Pairing these iron-rich foods with vitamin C can increase its’ absorption. Try topping your spinach salad with strawberries or lentils with a lemon juice-based vinaigrette to increase iron absorption.

Spice it up.

White pepper contains a compound called piperine, which increases nutrient absorption.  Other spices also work synergistically so be creative with your flavors and add a variety of spices to dishes.  Try making a seasoning blend like Penja, and use it on seafood, fish, and veggie dishes.

Dress your vegetables.

Fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K, as well as antioxidants like carotenoids, need fat to be properly absorbed in the body, research shows. Add olive oil, avocado, or nuts to your favorite vegetables or salad.