To live, your body relies on at least 40 nutrients found in food. As you digest food, it is broken down into nutrients which are absorbed into your bloodstream and carried to all the cells in your body.

A healthy diet is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eating the right foods and taking supplemental nutrients may not make you healthier if the nutrients aren’t being absorbed. Different nutrients need different conditions to be properly absorbed.

Look at the list below for methods to help you absorb all your nutrients.

Nutrients you want to absorb
This helps absorption
Amino Acids Take on an empty stomach
Iron Eat a little meat
Iron Don’t drink coffee at the same time
Iron Vitamin C
Calcium Vitamin D
Vitamins A, E, K and lycopene Fat
Carotenoides Cook your food
Vitamins in cereal Drink the milk at the bottom of the bowl
Chromium Avoid antacids
Calcium Do not take with iron supplements
Vitamin D Get 15 minutes of sunlight
Multivitamins Don’t store them in the bathroom
B vitamins Avoid alcohol
B vitamins Don’t rinse cooked pasta

Nutritious Shopping

It is important to buy nutritious foods at the grocery store and not buy the high fat, high calorie products that are often on sale.

The following list will help make your shopping experience a nutritious one!

  • Plan ahead and make a grocery list.
    • Planning ahead is important. It will help you avoid the marketing tactics the supermarket uses to entice people to purchase unnecessary or high-priced items.
  • Learn how to read labels.
    • The labels will tell you the nutrient composition of the food.
    • Look for calories per serving, grams of protein per serving, grams of fat per serving, and grams of carbohydrates per serving.
    • See ‘Label Lingo’ below.
  • Eat something before you go shopping.
    • Hunger reduces your resistance to buy foods that are low in nutritious content, over-priced, and unnecessary.
  • Choose minimally processed foods.
    • As a general rule, fresh foods are more nutritious than processed foods.
    • Many dietary deficiencies result from eating too much processed foods.
  • Increase awareness of the fat, cholesterol and sugar content in food.
    • The levels of fat, cholesterol and sugar are often higher than you think.
    • Read the labels so you will know what you are eating
  • Leave children at home.
    • If you can find a babysitter, do not take your children with you to the grocery store.
    • Shopping with children can result in unnecessary food purchases. These purchases are often sugary treats with low nutritious value.

Label Lingo

  • Wheat Flour does not mean whole wheat flour.
    • Wheat flour probably contains primarily refined flour which is not as nutritious as whole wheat flour.
  • Products that are labeled as ‘low in cholesterol’ might be high in fat, salt or other undesirable ingredients.
  • Fruit beverages are better if they are 100% fruit juice.
    • If a product is labeled as a fruit beverage, it may only have 10% fruit juice.
    • The higher percentage of fruit juice, the more nutritious the beverage is.
  • Natural foods are not always more nutritious than other foods.
    • When considering natural foods, look to see how fresh they are, and try to buy ones that are minimally processed.
  • Sugar free or sugar less means a food contains no table sugar but it can contain other sugars such as honey or corn syrup.
  • Know the different types of sugar.
    • A food is likely to be high in sugar if one of the following names appears first or second in the list of ingredients:
      • brown sugar
      • corn sweetener
      • corn syrup
      • dextrose
      • fructose
      • fruit juice concentrate
      • glucose
      • high-fructose corn syrup
      • honey
      • invert sugar
      • lactose
      • maltose
      • malt syrup
      • molasses
      • raw sugar
      • sucrose
      • syrup
      • table sugar