9 Tips from science: How to get the maximum efficiency out of food

Simple and clear advice from the scientists how to get the most use out of what we eat.

When we cook, we chew and digest food, we create a series of mechanical and chemical changes that affect:

  • Composition nutrients (quantity of nutrients which are contained in the product)
  • nutrient bioavailability (how many nutrients our body can absorb from the product)

Some vitamins and minerals are better absorbed only when their products contain, we eat in the form of cheese. And in order to get the most nutrients from other food sources, these products need to cook, chop and / or consumed together with other foods. nutrition experts from Precision Nutrition divided into simple guidelines that will get the maximum out of the food nutrients.

1. Try to have grown in your local fruits and vegetables. And as soon as possible after they have been collected / foiled

Grown in your area product that was recently torn down or assembled, not only tasty, but also contains the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals. After harvesting fruits and vegetables retain most of the nutrients for only 72 hours. Experts rightly point out that the store fruits and vegetables are probably already lost about 15-60% of the vitamins. But it's still better than nothing.

So if you can afford it, buy fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and berries in the local market directly from farmers. It is not necessary to rely on imported because of the Seas organic products, because when it comes to nutrients, grown in the local region of fruits and vegetables - apart from the competition.

2. Soak, grind, mix and apply pressure

These simple steps will improve the bioavailability of nutrients:

  • When we cut fruits and vegetables before consumption, we are destroying their cell walls rigid plant, thereby releasing more nutrients.
  • Pulverizing garlic and onion, we release allinazu enzyme that helps generate allicin biologically active substance having anti-microbial properties. Allicin protects us from tuberculosis, Escherichia coli, Candida, and has antiviral activity.
  • Soaking grains and legumes before cooking, we are reducing the level of phytic acid, which is contained in these products. Phytic acid can block the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium.

If you previously used these recommendations, - fine. Now you know that you did everything by science.

3. Keep fruits and vegetables properly

In order to properly store fruits and vegetables, should be guided by two objectives:

  • Slow loss of nutrients: heat, light and oxygen destroy them.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables, where access will be fast and hassle-free. So you will increase the likelihood that they will rot and be eaten.

To both of these tasks were carried out, it is necessary to save:

  • Vegetables (except tomatoes and root vegetables), - in the refrigerator.
  • Fruit (not berries) and tomatoes - at room temperature in a ventilated container and away from light.
  • Cut fruits and vegetables sprinkle with lemon juice and put them in an airtight container. When we cut fruits and vegetables, they are oxidized and destroyed, and the vitamin C contained in the lemon, and acts as an antioxidant, slows down the process.

4. Do not forget to freeze fruits and vegetables for the winter

Obviously, frozen broccoli has fewer nutrients than broccoli that was cut from the patch several hours ago. However, no matter how we try, we can not always eat fruits and vegetables straight from the garden or branches. In the end, a small amount of nutrients contained in frozen fruits and vegetables - it's better than nothing. It is important that freezing does not reduce the amount of fiber, which is found in vegetables.

5. Eat the majority of water-soluble and heat-sensitive raw products

The heat destroys vitamin B1 (thiamine), B5 (pantothenic acid), B9 (folic acid) and vitamin C, so products that contain in their composition are many of these vitamins are optimally consumed raw form:

  • Beets, greens, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, spinach (source of vitamin B1)
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, kale and kale (sources of vitamin B5)
  • Spinach, broccoli (source of vitamin B9)
  • Bell peppers and Brussels sprouts (vitamin C source)

If the prescription of these vegetables should be cooked, then do it on a low heat in a small amount of water.

6. Many vegetables are good to eat cooked

In the process of preparation of many vegetables is lost from 15 to 55% of nutrients. However, some vegetables retain most of the nutrients is in the process of heat treatment. For example, heat treatment significantly improves the bioavailability of tomato antioxidant lycopene contained in this red vegetable. Studies show that when we cook the tomatoes for 30 minutes, the body is able to absorb 25% of lycopene is greater than if we ate raw tomatoes. And if you cook (extinguish, bake), tomatoes, sweet potatoes (yams) and carrots, the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene will be acquired much better.

Heat treatment reduces the concentration of harmful substances and antinutrients contained in some food sources. Example antinutrients - it lectins, which are contained in legumes and grains in large quantities. These substances interfere with normal operation of the digestive enzymes, because of which violated the processes of digestion.

7. Combine some of the products for the best assimilation of nutrients

Many cuisines combine certain foods together. For example, Italians combine herbs, lemon and olive oil. "Correct," a combination of products, not only allows for excellent taste, but also helps us to better absorb nutrients. Here are a few examples:

Fat-soluble vitamins + fats

Combine products that contain a large amount of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K with fats that help dissolve these vitamins and thus improve their absorption.

Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, melon, peach (source of vitamin A), fungi (vitamin D), spinach, tomato and asparagus (vitamin E), broccoli, parsley, peas (vitamin K) is best combined with a small portion of nuts, avocados, olive and other vegetable oils.

Note: The products, such as salmon, tuna, sardines (vitamin D), the liver and eggs (vitamin A), and sunflower seeds (Vitamin E) optionally combined with the above-mentioned products, as they have sufficient dietary fat.

Iron + Vitamin C

Iron, which is found in plant food sources, digested worse than iron, which is found in foods of animal origin. When this combination of plant sources of mineral vitamin C increases the absorption of iron to 6 times. This effect is provided by the properties of vitamin C to block the substances that inhibit iron absorption. In addition, vitamin C helps the vegetable sources of iron "give" is more mineral.

For better absorption of iron from plant sources of spinach, cabbage, lentils, almonds and beans is better to combine with lemon juice, slices of orange, chili peppers and strawberries.

Iron and zinc + sulfur

Products with a high content of iron and zinc is best combined with foods rich in sulfur. The sulfur in this case will act as a binder, which will help to better absorb iron and zinc.

Such iron-rich and zinc products such as chicken, beef, and turkey is best combined with garlic, onions, asparagus, cabbages and beans, which contain sulfur.

8. Do not give up on meat products

Please accept this controversial advice only from the point of view of science. We respect the choice of vegetarians. If you decide to permanently abandon animal products, then please read the amino acid is swift, take vitamins and eat as much as possible more diverse.

Many vitamins and minerals that are contained in animal products, are digested better than the substances contained in plants. This is because the iron from animal products enveloped hemoglobin molecule, which protects it from degradation and thus allows longer internalize mineral. The same applies to some other vitamins and minerals, for example - vitamin A and calcium. The bioavailability of nutrients is much higher in animal sources.

The best sources of iron of animal origin: tuna, chicken, pork, beef, pork and chicken livers, duck, lamb, shrimp, sardines.

option for vegetarians

The best sources of vitamin A: beef, eggs, beef, chicken and pork liver, tuna, goat cheese, cheddar.

The best sources of calcium: sardines, perch, trout, salmon, anchovies, Swiss cheese, cheddar, cottage cheese.

9. Keep an eye on portability products

If you suffer from intolerance to certain foods that have a whole storehouse of vitamins and minerals, you can not learn in these products substances properly. It is clear that if you start angioedema even nut dust, then you eat them will not be a matter how useful they were. But keep in mind - if you have broccoli on puchit strong stomach, and from tomatoes - diarrhea, no such good food will bring.

Specialists from the Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Australia recommended to apply to the problem of food intolerance to the doctor, because the unpleasant symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract may be caused by many factors, among them - the generation of insufficient amounts of enzymes, gluten intolerance (celiac disease), irritable bowel syndrome and other violations. And some of these states are successfully treated.


  • Try to buy only fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown in your area. And even better - Grow them yourself.
  • Eat a varied and possibly do not give up animal products.
  • Most of the vegetables consumed raw, but be aware that there are those that are more useful in hot form.
  • Keep fruits and vegetables properly.
  • Combine certain products together to maximize the extent of absorption of nutrients.


  • 10 ways to get the most nutrients from your food, Precision Nutrition
  • All About Vitamins & Minerals, Precision Nutrition
  • Lycopene, WebMD
  • Beta-carotene and Sulfur overview, University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC)
  • Dietary Lectins: Everything You Need to Know, Authority Nutrition
  • Ankri S., Mirelman D., Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic, Microbes Infect. 1999 Feb; 1(2):125-9.
  • Iron in Your Diet, University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority
  • Food Sources of Vitamin A, Calcium and Iron, Dietitians of Canada
  • Food Allergy, or Something Else, WebMD
  • Food intolerance, Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

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