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Maximize Your Vitamin & Mineral Absorption

Posted Feb 27 2012 7:06pm

Happy Monday! Um, to say my brain is fried is a serious understatement. I’m always blown away at how eight consecutive hours of class literally deteriorates my brain; and lucky you gets to benefit from it! 


This morning’s workout was interesting. First, I kicked my BUTT on the treadmill!

The key with this workout is to be honest with yourself. What is a jogging speed for you? What is a running speed? What is a sprint? It really forces you to listen your body and challenge yourself. :-) Afterwards, I completed 1.5 circuits of Tone It Up’s Sweet & Sexy workout !

During my 2 minute walking cooldown, a boy jumped on the treadmill next to me. Said boy literally drenched himself in cologne before coming to the gym and, as a result, almost made me gag. Actually, it did make me gag. Yuck! This is one of  my biggest “gym pet peeves.” It comes in at a close second to girls talking in the exercise room instead of working out (Please don’t talk while I’m focused and lifting. Chatting is not for the exercise room!) and girls wearing belly shirts while running. Do you have any “gym pet peeves?” Lay ‘em on me!


After the gym, I came back to my dorm to prep and pack breakfast. It was the usual: Vega Chacolate Protein pudding oats and fruit. I am so happy I got to bring some fresh berries back to school with me (thanks parents!). They are unreal!

Side note: It looks like the Vega protein pudding oats is catching on.

So, as you can see, I’m not crazy for eating the same thing for breakfast every day and looking forward to it with a crazy passion. It is just that good.


Class ensued from 8:30 to 1:30, at which point I headed over to the dining commons to grab some lunch before my 2:30 class. I don’t mind eating alone, especially having professors lecturing you all day. 

Excuse the cell phone shot. I forgot my camera!

The mound of doogie-looking stuff on the left is a deceivingly delicious blend of navy beans, baked apples and celery. Along with the beans, I had a salad with hummus and sunflower seeds and a side of roasted snap peas in olive oil and garlic. Yum!


After my last class, I came back to my dorm to get some work done before my friend Kristen and I headed to dinner. Tonight’s star of the show was Pinto bean chili with Daiya pepperjack shreds and cilantro. So good. I also enjoyed a side of grilled vegetables and a small salad with tomatoes, beets and balsamic dressing. I also stole a bite of Kristen’s grilled naan, which was pretty divine! I love the taste of charred bread.

It was pretty beany day today. Thankfully, my bowels are still in check. ;-)

Maximize Your Vitamin & Mineral Absorption

We often here the phrase “Eat your vitamins!” but we don’t often hear the phrase “Maximize your vitamins!” do we? Well, it’s true! We can maximize our vitamins – and our minerals, to boot! There are certain vitamins and minerals that are great team mates. In reality, there are a bunch of them but we’ll just stick to three of the big guys for now. 

( Source )

Calcium & Vitamin D

This one might not come as too much of a surprise. You’ve probably noticed that most calcium supplements are fortified with vitamin D – and for good reason. Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption. 

We produce vitamin D from the sun  (through our skin) but it isn’t always sunny out, right? While I’m not one to tout supplements left and right, I do find it beneficial for us to consume a calcium plus vitamin D supplement every day because of the limited amount of sun exposure we have. I recommend purchasing a 600 mg Calcium supplement with at least 200 IU vitamin D to ensure your calcium is getting efficiently absorbed and that you’re getting enough vitamin D for the day. Food-wise, we can supplement with almond milk, which typically offers 30% calcium and 25% vitamin D per 1 cup serving, and LUNA bars are also fortified with both nutrients.

Remember: Whole foods are the most nutrient dense foods and will always be the best choice for overall dietary lifestyle choices. This is specifically for vitamin/mineral absorption!

For more vegan-friendly, calcium-rich foods, visit this post  on how we can obtain calcium from plants (and why dairy is addictive!).

Vitamin C & Iron

Studies have shown that vitamin C enhances iron absorption, specifically non-heme iron (the iron found in plant-based foods). This is very critical for plant-based eaters because we want to ensure we’re getting optimum absorption of our nutrients! Take my above lunch as an example. The side of beans provides a good source of iron and my salad contains vitamin C from the spinach and broccoli, so that is an example of smart food pairing!

Other examples could be an iron-rich spinach salad with vitamin C-rich sliced red pepper or a citrus fruit, like an orange, kiwi, or grapefruit on the side. Also, like my breakfast this morning, you could have organic old-fashioned oats with strawberries. The oats contain iron and the strawberries contain vitamin C. Some more iron-rich foods sources include: asparagus, tofu, lentils, Brussels sprouts, garbanzo beans and kale. Bonus? Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale are also good sources of vitamin C!

Magnesium & Calcium

Magnesium is a really important mineral. It helps with energy production, protein formation and DNA replication. It also works with calcium to help with efficient contraction and relaxation of our muscles , so this is a biggie – especially if you’re an avid strength trainer! Unlike the two teams above, calcium and magnesium do not need to be eaten in conjunction with each other in order to be most effective. We just need to make sure we are getting adequate amounts of each mineral so our muscles can do their jobs! 

Good sources of magnesium include: spinach, whole grains, sunflower seeds, nuts, dried apricots, avocado, garlic, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and oranges.

Hope this helped you out!

Stay lovely,

Question of the Day: Are you familiar with vitamins/minerals that work together? Do you practice vitamin/mineral pairing? 

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