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"New Mineral Absorption Enhancers Found"
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 source 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, the 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 for “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 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
"promoting influences 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.