Eating for Optimal Nutrient Absorption

by Diego Bodart

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There are nutrients, and then there are anti-nutrients.

Some of the foods we eat actually inhibit the absorption of nutrients present in other foods. It is important to keep this in mind to support healthy digestion and obtain all the nutrients we need for optimal health.

It is commonly believed that it's okay to consume unhealthy foods in moderation. But maybe we should reconsider that.

Certain unhealthy foods block the absorption of nutrients in our gut and should simply be avoided.

For instance, milk has been shown to block the absorption of phytonutrients in chocolate and tea when combined with those foods.

We might then wonder, what happens if we eat powerful antioxidants such as berries and drink milk?

A study published in 2008 by the Universidad de Sao Paulo compared the amount of ellagic acid (an important phytonutrient in berries with anti-aging properties) absorbed to the bloodstream when people drink blackberry juice made with water—and the amount absorbed when mixed with milk. The study showed that when we drink blackberry juice mixed with water we absorb a considerable amount of ellagic acid. When the juice was mixed with skim milk, there was zero absorption of ellagic acid. This means that by mixing our berries with milk we are reducing considerably the benefits of this super antioxidant food.

Thank you, Richard Moreno, for sharing this article with us.


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References:

Hassimotto, N. M. A., Pinto, M. D. S., & Lajolo, F. M. (2008). Antioxidant Status in Humans after Consumption of Blackberry (Rubus fruticosusL.) Juices With and Without Defatted Milk. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56(24), 11727–11733. doi:10.1021/jf802614