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By Olivia Janisch

There are things we do every day that either enhance or inhibit our body’s ability to properly metabolize and get most out of everything we eat. Enable your body to enjoy everything to the fullest by making these small changes.

1. Don’t drink water during meals

Staying hydrated is a critical way to maintain overall health, stay alert, and stabilize your appetite. As simple as it sounds, however, the time at which we drink water can have varying effects on how it benefits us. Drinking water while eating or too close to a meal actually dilutes the stomach acid necessary to breakdown our food. This reduces the ability of our enzymes to do their job effectively in digesting and extracting nutrients from the food. This can result in lower nutrient absorption and serious bloating and indigestion. Try not to drink within twenty minutes before and after eating, and if you enjoy wine or tea during meals, be aware to sip on it and not gulp it down. It will help you get more out of your food and will reduce discomfort or feeling overly full after meals.

2.    Have superfoods on hand at home

Certain nuts, seeds and veggies are mega powerhouses when it comes to nutrient density and are super easy to throw into salads, soups, smoothies or pastas. Keep them around to add into whatever you’re enjoying at the moment to improve the nutritional content.

Here are some good ones to try:

Flax seeds – Great source of fiber to aid in digestion, lots of omega-3s

Chia seeds – Full of iron and protein to regulate blood sugar levels and help you stay full

Hemp seeds – Packed with omega-3s to enhance skin, metabolism, immune system and brain health, excellent source of vegan protein

Quinoa – Gluten free grain & complete source of protein

Kale – Packed with iron, protein, calcium and micronutrients, sautés super quickly and seamlessly blends into lots of meals.

3.    Pair foods the right way 

Certain food combinations are extremely powerful sources of disease prevention. To optimize your health and improve nutrient absorption, try these pairs.

Chickpeas + Bell Peppers – the vitamin C in the bell pepper helps encourage absorption of the iron in the chickpeas, giving you more energy and accelerating recovery after working out.

Eggs + Broccoli – the abundance of calcium in broccoli combined with the vitamin D from eggs help reduce PMS symptoms including crankiness and cramps. This combination is also critical for healthy and restorative sleep.

Tomato + Olive Oil – the lycopene found in tomatoes is an excellent antioxidant that helps to prevent sun damage. The healthy fats in olive oil aid in your body’s absorption of lycopene, and reduce oxidative stress resulting in lower signs of aging and wrinkles.

Turmeric + Black Pepper – turmeric is an incredibly potent antioxidant, but eating it with black pepper significantly increases the bioavailability of curcumin, the dominant compound in turmeric responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects.

 

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