The Secret Life Of Vitamins
Everyone knows a steady stream of vitamins can help sustain a healthy body and mind, but did you know that some combinations of them might bring added benefits? We spoke to Swisse nutritionist Sherree Banh, to find out the best combinations for our bodies.
Iron with vitamin C
One of our bodies biggest multitaskers, iron not only transports oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood, it also metabolises protein and aids red blood cell production. However, as iron is hard for our bodies to absorb, it needs a little help from our old childhood friend, vitamin C (remember the orange-flavoured tablets?). Good old vitamin C can help iron be more readily absorbed especially from plant-based sources of iron. So, for example, if you are eating spinach, pair it with some capsicum, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Vitamins A, D, E and K with fat
There are two kinds of vitamins – water-soluble and fat soluble. Vitamins A, D, E, and K fall into the latter category, meaning they are stored in the body longer, and (as the name suggests) benefit from pairing with fat. If you are taking them as a multivitamin, make sure you eat a meal with healthy fats in it at the same time. Think avocado, salmon, flaxseeds, extra virgin olive oil.
Calcium with vitamin D
Apart from strong teeth, calcium is a wonder nutrient for sturdy bones and the regulation of smooth muscle contraction. As we get older and the risk of osteoporosis increases, our need for calcium rises. One sure fire way of making sure our bodies absorb it properly is to pair calcium with vitamin D. Surprisingly, there are some foods which already have this combination, including canned salmon and fortified milk.
Folic acid and vitamin C
Most commonly taken by women expecting to fall pregnant, folic acid is also beneficial to men. Research conducted by the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging found that folate might help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in both men and women. Luckily, vitamin C (what a champion vitamin!) aids the body in folate absorption, so an easy way of doing this is to take the folic supplement with a glass of orange juice.
Vitamin A and zinc
Essential for healthy skin, nails, hair and eyes, vitamin A is an antioxidant that is found in butternut squash, mango, sweet potatoes and carrots. In order for our bodies to truly benefit from it though, it needs to be paired with zinc, which boosts our immune systems. Dark leafy greens, mushrooms, cabbage, and tomatoes (among others) are great sources of zinc, and are easy to combine in most meals.
- Corrada MM, Kawas CH, Hallfrisch J, Muller D, Brookmeyer R. Reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease with high folate intake: the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Alzheimers Dement. 2005;1(1):11-18. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2005.06.001