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Your Best Nutrition Through Great Food Combos

It’s not something we often think about when we dive into brunch, but the combinations of the foods we eat can play a role in reaching the optimal nutrition. Let’s explore a few of these foodie best friends….and foes.

Calcium and vitamin D:-

To ensure the best musculoskeletal health, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and associated hip fractures, we need the right amount of dietary calcium (700mg/day for adults). Though we tend to consume enough we need that lovely vitamin D to absorb calcium in our gut. Though we make vitamin D following exposure to sunlight, sometimes our dietary levels fall short, reducing the amount of calcium in our bodies. Though we supplement, especially in the winter months, good dietary sources of vitamin D are oily fish, red meat, eggs and liver with calcium in good supply in broccoli, green leafy veggies and dairy. As we store vitamin D we don’t necessarily need to eat them at the same time - throughout the day is just fine when it comes to these firm friends.

Iron and vitamin C:-

Iron is vital in making red blood cells which carry oxygen round the body. Iron deficiency can lead to anaemia where we may feel tired and lack energy amongst other symptoms. Vitamin C can help the body absorb iron, especially if we are relying on plant-based sources of iron such as lentils, beans, chickpeas and green leafy veggies. Good sources of vitamin C are blackcurrants, strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes. Vitamin C is not stored in our bodies so it’s worth thinking about having a glass of orange juice alongside an iron, rich meal.

Iron and tannins:-

Alas not all relationships work out and this is the case when it comes to poor iron absorption and our morning cuppa. Tannins found in tea, coffee, wine, chocolate, cocoa, some whole fruits such as grapes and apples, legumes and some cereals will bind to some iron rich foods. Luckily the effect can be avoided by making sure that high tannin foods and drinks are consumed away from iron rich meals and snacks.

These are just a few of the great and not-so-great partnerships within our diet, but hopefully a few tips about achieving the very best nutrition from our daily bread.

Happy eating,

Nina Thomas

Registered Associate Nutritionist

Bridgford & Bingham Nutrition

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