Nutrient Synergy is the way that two or more different nutrients work together to produce an effect that you can’t get from either nutrient alone. Sometimes they help each other do the same job and other times, one nutrient helps you absorb more of the other. You can take some Vitamin C, some Vitamin E, and some other antioxidants, but it won’t give you all the benefits of having them together.
You’ve probably heard that carrots are good for your eyesight. That’s because they contain beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant. Your body converts a portion of the beta-carotene you take in through diet to vitamin A, a nutrient important for night vision. The antioxidant activity that beta-carotene provides may also lower your risk for eye-related problems like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Now, here is the tricky part….carrots have plenty of beta-carotene but it’s fat-soluble, meaning it needs fat for adequate absorption. If you add carrots to your salad without a source of fat, you won’t absorb much of the beta-carotene. Olive oil to the rescue! It is a source of heart-healthy fats that help you soak up the beta-carotene and other fat-soluble nutrients from vegetables like carrots.
By now we all know about the amazing benefits of green tea and the antioxidants in green tea that are called catechins which your body soaks up when you sip a cup of green tea. The problem with the catechins in green tea is they are unstable and your intestinal tract quickly breaks them down into an unusable form. Fortunately, adding lemon to green tea stabilizes the catechins so you can capture more of their benefits when you sip a cup of green tea.
These are just two examples of food and nutrient synergy. Whole food sources of nutrition are better than supplements and combining certain foods can enhance the benefits you get from both. This doesn’t mean supplements are completely off limits. Supplements do have a place even in a healthy and nutrient-dense diet if you pick them carefully and use them wisely….they can be absolutely great!
Keep It Real and supplement your diet with what Realife has to offer and trust in yourself to keep learning about nutrition and your health because knowledge is power!