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Bio-availability: How to get the most out of your food

Bio-availability: How to get the most out of your food

Over the weekend we got our usual organic produce box delivered, all that gorgeous vege got me thinking about Bioavailability, even with the right food how do we get the most out of it. To cook or not to cook? should I eat Raw, activated? blended? too many choices and not enough knowledge means you could be missing out on half the goodness in what you eat!

Bioavailability. Food for thought…or thought for food.

Have you ever heard of partner planting? It’s where you strategically partner different types of plants together that help your garden against nasty little pests that love to munch on your homegrown greens, and also help your veggies to thrive.

Well guess what, did you know the same thing goes for eating your food!?

So what is bioavailability?
When certain things are eaten together, the nutrients in your food become more or less bioavailable, which means the number of nutrients are absorbed through the gut wall into your bloodstream can be more or less. There are inhibitors and enhancers for making the most out of nutrients in your food.

You may have heard, turmeric is an incredible food known for it’s powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin. Curcumin isn’t very bioavailable when taken on it’s own. In fact, most of the nutrients can pass through your system without being absorbed. But, if you take it with black pepper, the ingredient peperine increases the nutrients in turmeric by up to 2000%!

That’s something to think about! The same goes for eating raw and cooking your food, some are more bioavailable when raw and others when they are cooked!

So let's talk about some easy basics…..


Soaking grains and beans reduce phytic acid which is an inhibitor for the absorption of iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.


Foods with vitamin D like mushrooms more and more should be eaten with good fats because the D vitamin is fat soluble. Check out the fat or water solubility of your foods.


For example: licatine, found in tomatoes is more available to your body when the tomato is cooked. Studies show if you have a diet high in licapine you've got a 40% chance of reducing prostate cancer!

Interesting facts on Nutrients:


Iron is extremely important for the transport and distribution of oxygen throughout the body. It’s estimated that 9 percent of women have clinical iron deficiencies, with many more falling short of optimal intakes. Iron comes in two forms. The first, heme iron, is found in animal sources like beef and turkey, and is absorbed very well with no known dietary inhibitors. This is not the case with the second kind of iron, non-heme iron, which is found in plant-based sources like spinach, beans, tofu, and fortified cereals.


Calcium inhibits the absorption of non-heme iron, meaning you may want to rethink pouring milk on your iron-fortified cereal. Vitamin C, on the other hand, increases non-heme iron absorption, so adding capsicum or a squeeze of lemon juice will not just make your spinach salad taste better, it will also help you absorb almost three times more iron from the leafy greens.


This mineral is used in more than 300 reactions in the human body. Improving magnesium status can lead to better blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and reduced risk of heart disease. Dietary sources of magnesium include nuts, green leafy vegetables, and beans. Since magnesium works with calcium and vitamin D to maximise bone health, you can enhance uptake of magnesium by taking a vitamin D supplement—just don’t exceed 1,000 to 2,000 IU. This way you reap the added benefit of vitamin D at the same time.


Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene)

Clinical deficiencies of vitamin A are rare in the U.S., but since only one-third of women eat enough daily servings of fruit and vegetables, many are not reaching optimal levels of beta-carotene. This plant-based precursor to vitamin A is found in many red, yellow, and orange veggies, and also functions as an antioxidant. Increased beta-carotene intake is associated with reduced risk of several cancers, ALS, and eye disease.

To improve your absorption of beta-carotene, pair veggies with fat. For example, research shows that eating avocado with salsa, which is rich in beta-carotene due to the tomatoes, boosts absorption. And rather than fat-free dressing, drizzle your salad olive oil or top with avocado or pieces of cheese.

And finally, a few suggestions to open a can of worms for bioavailability.

1. Know what is in your food
Sounds simple but if you go out to eat, a simple question could save some dramas!

2. Find some limited time solutions
Have your go to's. We live in an era that is increasingly time poor. All good to have the best intentions, but create some nutritional and bioavailable solutions that are on the go.

3. Google it
Ok, ok - not everything otherwise you will freak out. But, if you are unsure, just ask google what you can do to make your rice? potatoes? steak etc more bioavailable. Can't hurt.

4. Ask questions, get answers.
Ask your health care profession, naturopath, chat with friends. Nutrition should be an open conversation. After all, who would know how to get the most of our food and not share it. Would be like hiding gold under your bed!

From the Nutra Organics Blog, you can find it here and you can find the full range of products here 

The team at Nutra Organics are incredibly clever and we think you should have access to the wealth of information they have available, so we stole this from them and published it here so you can get the most out of your food too because let's face it nutrition gets confusing.


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