What is bioavailability?
Bioavailability commonly refers to the amount of nutrients our body can derive and absorb from the foods we eat in order to support its normal functions.
Why do I consider bioavailability to be one of the most important factors when customizing a meal plan?
Implementing nutrient bioavailability helps optimize diets and gets my clients “the biggest bang for the buck”. It helps your body to obtain and absorb the most amount of micronutrients from plants, grains, legumes, herbs, various protein sources, etc.
You usually don’t have to worry about the bioavailability of macronutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates – as it is typically very high. On the other hand, there are numerous factors that affect micronutrients bioavailability, i.e. vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
Among the internal factors that affect nutrient bioavailability are gender, age, life stage, and nutritional status, gastrointestinal factor. The external factors include the source and chemical composition of foods, the impact of inhibitors, methods of preparation, etc.
Here are some tips on better micronutrients absorption:
Keep your gut microbiome healthy for better absorption of nutrients!
Add a small amount of healthy fats when cooking carrots, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and any other foods high in carotenoids;
Complement your sources of iron with foods high in Vitamin C - bell peppers, kiwi fruits, strawberries, broccoli, papaya, guava, oranges, tomatoes, kale, etc.;
Soak your whole grain cereals, seeds, and nuts to reduce phytic acid contact and release calcium, iron, and zinc; make sure to discard the water!
Steam or blanch your green and vegetables to minimize the loss of folic acid, vitamin K, and vitamin C;
Chop, cut, and chew your fruits and veggies thoroughly to break down thick plant cell walls;
Don’t overcook your veggies and save the juices to retain all the water-soluble vitamins.
Protect your cells against DNA strand breaks, death, oxidation, and inflammation by using the following spices: