New Mineral Absorption Enhancers Found

New Mineral Absorption Enhancers Found
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The whole grain phytonutrient phytic acid (phytate) partially inhibits mineral absorption, but has a wide range of health-promoting properties, such as anticancer activity. By concurrently eating mineral absorption enhancers, such as garlic and onions, one can get the best of both worlds by improving the bioavailability of iron and zinc in plant foods.

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According to the Swine Information Center, pork is an excellent source of a number of nutrients, including iron and zinc. When you see on a label that something or other is a “good source” of some nutrient, that’s actually a legal definition—meaning it has to have at least 10% of the daily value of that particular nutrient. It says nothing about the excellence of the food choice itself.

So, for example, you could throw a multivitamin into a scoop of sewer sludge, and legally call it a “good” source of half a dozen things. But it would probably kill you; it’s not good at all.

It always comes back to food as a package deal. It is impossible to get the calcium in dairy, for example, without also getting the hormones. Or the iron in beef, without the saturated fat. So these aren’t necessarily “good” sources of nutrients after all, because we can’t get one without the other—unless, we get our nutrients from non-animal sources.

Then, we don’t have to worry about the saturated animal fat, the cholesterol, and the rest. And there’s a bonus that comes when we get, for example, our iron and zinc from whole grains, greens, beans, nuts, and seeds: the fiber, folate, phytonutrients, etc. It’s a package deal, but in a good way. It’s like “Order now, and get a free gift!”

One of those phytonutrients, though, phytates, or phytic acid (from the greek word phyton, meaning plant), can partially inhibit mineral absorption. Now phytates are actually good for us; they have a wide range of health-promoting properties, such as anticancer activity. But because it binds up some of the minerals, that just means one just has to eat more whole healthy plant foods—or eat mineral absorption enhancers , such as garlic and onions.

In fact, the whole allium family of vegetables was recently found to have a “promoting influence[s] on the bioaccessibility of iron and zinc…” Here’s the bioaccessibility of iron and zinc in a serving of brown rice, cooked with one clove of garlic; cooked with two cloves of garlic. We see the same thing with onions. Here’s normalized data for brown rice plain, then eaten at the same meal with one thin slice of onion, or, two thin slices of onion. So up to 50% more absorption.

But if you don’t like garlic and onions, then you get the same mineral absorption from just eating a whole grain serving and a half.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Yongjiet / flickr

According to the Swine Information Center, pork is an excellent source of a number of nutrients, including iron and zinc. When you see on a label that something or other is a “good source” of some nutrient, that’s actually a legal definition—meaning it has to have at least 10% of the daily value of that particular nutrient. It says nothing about the excellence of the food choice itself.

So, for example, you could throw a multivitamin into a scoop of sewer sludge, and legally call it a “good” source of half a dozen things. But it would probably kill you; it’s not good at all.

It always comes back to food as a package deal. It is impossible to get the calcium in dairy, for example, without also getting the hormones. Or the iron in beef, without the saturated fat. So these aren’t necessarily “good” sources of nutrients after all, because we can’t get one without the other—unless, we get our nutrients from non-animal sources.

Then, we don’t have to worry about the saturated animal fat, the cholesterol, and the rest. And there’s a bonus that comes when we get, for example, our iron and zinc from whole grains, greens, beans, nuts, and seeds: the fiber, folate, phytonutrients, etc. It’s a package deal, but in a good way. It’s like “Order now, and get a free gift!”

One of those phytonutrients, though, phytates, or phytic acid (from the greek word phyton, meaning plant), can partially inhibit mineral absorption. Now phytates are actually good for us; they have a wide range of health-promoting properties, such as anticancer activity. But because it binds up some of the minerals, that just means one just has to eat more whole healthy plant foods—or eat mineral absorption enhancers , such as garlic and onions.

In fact, the whole allium family of vegetables was recently found to have a “promoting influence[s] on the bioaccessibility of iron and zinc…” Here’s the bioaccessibility of iron and zinc in a serving of brown rice, cooked with one clove of garlic; cooked with two cloves of garlic. We see the same thing with onions. Here’s normalized data for brown rice plain, then eaten at the same meal with one thin slice of onion, or, two thin slices of onion. So up to 50% more absorption.

But if you don’t like garlic and onions, then you get the same mineral absorption from just eating a whole grain serving and a half.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Yongjiet / flickr

Nota del Doctor

Another example of nutrient synergy is the reaction between black pepper and the spice turmeric, as described in Garden Variety Anti-Inflammation. For more on the food-as-a-package-deal concept, see Plant Protein PreferablePlant vs. Cow Calcium; and Safest Source of B12. See Risk Associated With Iron Supplements for why plant-based sources of iron are preferable. For more on the hormones in dairy, check out Dairy Hormonal InterferenceThe Acne-Promoting Effects of Milk; and Dairy & Sexual Precocity. To explore the additional wonders of garlic, see #1 Anticancer Vegetable; and Pretty in Pee-nk

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer RiskHow to Enhance Mineral AbsorptionTreating an Enlarged Prostate With DietPlant-Based Diets for Metabolic Syndrome; and Anti-Cancer Nutrient Synergy in Cranberries.

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