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How to Combine Foods to Avoid Vitamin Deficiency

by Sheryl Lozicki RD, MBA, eHow Contributor

Vitamins and minerals are individual molecules that perform specific functions such as maintaining healthy skin, improving bone density and helping our bodies create energy from food. they are essential to life and must be consumed because the body is not able to make either in sufficient quantities for good health. Vitamins and minerals rarely work alone. Some work in pairs to improve absorption, while others work against each other, competing or canceling each other out. Understanding how to combine foods to maximize absorption can reduce the chance of a vitamin, mineral deficiency. Things You'll Need

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Lean meats
  • Fortified grains
  • Margarine

Instructions

Important Combinations

  • 1. Vitamin D is required for the absorption of the mineral calcium. Some vitamin D can be made by the skin, but sunscreens, pollution, heavy clothing and seasonal variations necessitate the consumption from food as well. Fortified milk, orange juice, cereals and margarine are good sources of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, along with salmon, low-fat yogurt and cheese. For example, 1 cup of milk contains 30% of the daily value (DV) for calcium, 25% Vitamin D and 20% phosphorus all in the same glass. All three are a healthy combination for strong bones and teeth.

  • 2. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron. Vitamin C helps fight infection and repair wounds while iron ensures that oxygen rich, red blood cells carry nutrients to nourish cells and aide in healing. A good health practice is to drink a glass of vitamin C rich orange juice with iron fortified cereal in the morning. Additional Vitamin C and iron combinations include: adding mandarin oranges or strawberries to a spinach salad, and lean red meat served with potatoes and asparagus.

  • 3. A potassium rich diet encourages the kidneys to rid the body of excess sodium. This is useful for individuals who suffer from high blood pressure. Potassium rich foods include oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, and low-fat dairy products. These foods are also naturally lower in sodium than processed food, which is a major source of sodium in our diet.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Food Guide Pyramid encourages us to choose fruits and vegetables that are a variety of colors. More colors mean more nutrients. Red tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon contain lycopene which is being studied for risk reduction of heart disease and cancer. Green vegetables contain phytochemicals which halt, prevent or lessen disease. Orange fruits and vegetables like potatoes, mango, carrots and apricots are rich sources of beta carotene a form of vitamin A. Blue fruits and vegetables such as blueberries contain anthocyanins which are being studied for cancer fighting properties and are rich in phytochemicals, fiber, folic acid, Vitamin C and potassium.

  • While a multivitamin might sound like a good insurance policy, they are a false sense of security. Vitamin and mineral supplements traditionally do not include phytochemicals, fiber and many other great combinations naturally present in real food. A poor diet supplemented by a pill is still a poor diet.

Sheryl Lozicki RD, MBA

Sheryl Lozicki is a registered dietitian and active member of the American Dietetic Association. Sheryl has been featured in "Today's Dietitian, " "Michigan Runner" and writes for multiple wellness companies. She has a bachelor's in nutrition from Case Western Reserve University, an M.B.A., and dietetic internship at the Cleveland Clinic.

Original source: eHow.com







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