Have you ever heard the popular saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, that isn’t entirely true. Instead, people should really say, “You are what you absorb.” Think about it — you can eat all of the vegetables and fruits in the world, but if your body isn’t absorbing their nutrients then you aren’t reaping any of the health benefits.
You may not even realize it, but when you eat a nutritious meal, often times your body doesn’t absorb all of the beneficial vitamins and minerals. In fact, people typically absorb anywhere from 10-90 percent of the nutrients in their food. So how can you improve your nutrient absorption? Check out the following six tips:
1) Repair Your Damaged Digestive Tract
Nearly 90 percent of nutrient absorption takes place in the small intestines. From there, nutrients enter the bloodstream where they are put to good use by the body. If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) or another type of gastrointestinal disorder, though, your intestines will more than likely struggle with absorption. This is why many IBD patients are malnourished.
If you are suffering from a damaged digestive tract, start taking probiotics immediately. Probiotics are “good” gut bacteria that can improve digestive health and heal a leaky gut. The benefits don’t end there, though. Probiotics can help improve almost every function of the body.
Other great supplements to heal a damaged digestive tract include collagen and digestive enzymes.
In order for your intestines to absorb nutrients, they must be properly broken down. Unlike raw fruits and vegetables, however, fresh juice is already broken down. This makes it easier for your body to digest because your body doesn’t have to do any work. Instead, fresh juices go directly into your bloodstream. Doctors call fresh juices a 15-minute nutrient express to health!
3) Pair Food Properly
Certain nutrients need to be paired with other nutrients in order to work properly. For example, did you know in order to absorb all of the extremely healthy fat-soluble nutrients in your food, you need to eat them with fat? Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins support a wide range of tissues and organs in the body.
Two healthy fats that have been proven to improve nutrient absorption include avocado oil and coconut oil.
4) Chew Food Well
Digestion begins the moment you start chewing and saliva is released into your mouth. You may not realize, but your saliva contains enzymes that help break down food from large particles to small particles, making it easier for the body to digest. According to researchers, this process also makes it easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients from the food particles as they pass through.
If you are a fast eater, chances are you aren’t chewing your food properly. Check out these tips:
- Take smaller bites
- Take your time and chew slowly
- Chew until your food has lost its texture
Also, don’t put more food or fluids into your mouth until you have swallowed.
5) Lay Off The Alcohol
When you go out to eat, are you someone who loves to order a glass of wine, martini, or a cold beer? While an adult beverage is certainly enjoyable after a long day, if you’re looking to benefit from a nutritious meal then you may want to go with water or tea instead.
Alcohol affects nutrient absorption in a couple of ways. First, it decreases the secretion of digestive enzymes, meaning your body has a harder time breaking down food. Also, alcohol damages the cells lining the stomach and intestines, making it harder for nutrients to enter the bloodstream.
Have you ever been stressed to the max and all of a sudden been hit with a “funny tummy?” That’s because your brain and digestive system are closely linked. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, poor digestive health can lead to a decrease in nutrient absorption. Click here to find out the many ways stress impacts digestion and the top eight ways to beat stress naturally.