Wednesday: Welcome to Wednesday Why

Every Wednesday we’ll walk you through the “whys” of each weekly challenge. When you know the reason behind what you’re doing, you’re more likely to stick to the habit.

This week we’re making balanced plates full of vibrant hues, which, like other weeks, continues to offers healthy benefits like:

  • Increased nutrient diversity that supports gut health
  • Enhanced blood sugar control
  • Increased satiety & focus

But what we really want to focus on this week is how nutrients work in harmony.

Also known as nutrient synergy, nutrients found in food – think vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, among others – perform better when working alongside other nutrients, ultimately improving nutrient effectiveness and absorption. Some (but nowhere near all) of these synergistic nutrient pairs and groups include:

  • Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin K
  • Zinc and Vitamin A
  • Folic acid, B12, and B6
  • Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium
  • Vitamin C and iron

While there is a time and place for supplementation, it’s good to remember the unique mechanisms and distinct potency of nutrients found in foods.

Research Highlight

Let’s highlight one of these synergistic nutrient pairs — vitamin C and iron. A 2020 study conducted on women with iron deficiency anemia investigated the effectiveness and safety of vitamin C taken with iron supplementation. Study participants who took vitamin C with their iron supplementation experienced improved hemoglobin recovery and iron absorption.

So if you are someone who experiences iron deficiency anemia, increasing your vitamin C intake may help boost those iron levels (but always check with your doctor before making any supplement changes).