Absorption of Nutrients

Absorption of Nutrients. 

What can we do to absorb better minerals and vitamins we ingest

We live over-nourished, we can buy or find everything to eat, to cook… we eat quite much, and supposedly with a wide variety of products, but much of the population have deficiencies. It’s unbelievable that for example, that a person that eats dairies every day can be affected by osteoporosis, or to suffer from lack energy, somnolence…when we are missing nothing?

In the digestion many factors take place, like the food itself (organic or not, how it has been cultivated, the energy it contains and provides us), our level of stress, the state of our intestines etc. therefore, the nutrients we eat not always go to our metabolism.

Most of the food is shipped from one part of the world to the other, and to make this long way has to be preserved with chemicals and stored in refrigerators for a long time, so the minerals and vitamins they contain can get reduced very much when the final consumer buys them.

The problem comes when we are growing old when the body cannot metabolize food as it did before.

The foods we eat and drink, act synergistically one with the other. Through mastication and digestion, go to the blop stream. After, they form part of the tissues in different parts of the body.

But sometimes this process doesn’t occur properly, and our body doesn’t receive the nutrients it needs.

The absorption of nutrients depends on many factors. One that most affect to this modern society is stress. But can also be altered by chronic inflammation or intestinal infection, the prolonged use of antibiotics (and other medicines), lactose intolerance,  Crohn disease, kidney or liver problems…

Intestinal Permeability

The intestinal cells (or enterocytes) are joined by certain structures, called tight junctions. These binding structures may be affected by a wide number of factors, and some gap between the cells can appear, that allow the entry of microbial antigens into the bloodstream, which also can cause toxicity in the liver, but may also create serious problems in the immune system like autoimmune diseases and also inflammatory bowel diseases, chronic fatigue etc.

Overloaded Liver

Eating too much or too often can overload the liver. The liver is an organ that acts as a filter. If this filter gets full of toxins, our liver is not filtering the blood and not facilitating the absorption of nutrients.

Adaptation to the Environment

Our cells have to adapt to the environment as well as our body. What I mean is that it’s very different if they receive one nutrient or the other. As an example, if we are on a trip, we modify our diet, we don’t eat the same things as we do at home. Or if we are on a diet, we eat less or low caloric food. The body has to adapt to the new changes, and therefore our cells. The more flexible is our body (for this adaptation), the faster and easier the absorption will be.

Candida

It’s an infection caused by a family of yeasts: Candida, which there are about 150  different species. The most common one is Candida Albicans. We all have candida in our skin, digestive and genitourinary systems. The problem is when candida proliferates.

The Stress of Modern Life

Our modern life system makes this yeast grow. It’s an inflammatory chronic situation, especially in our intestines. It’s usually ignored by health professionals, many times also because it’s difficult to detect in blood analysis since the candida is usually attached to the walls of the intestine.

 When our immune system weakens due to the stress or improper feeding (sugar, refined flours etc.), the candida becomes strong, producing many symptoms such as tiredness, digestive problems, migraines, muscle aches, allergies, vitamin and mineral deficiencies etc.

Keys for a better absorption

There are many factors that we have to take care of, by consuming, preserving and appropriately combining certain foods:

1.Nutrient Selection

Choosing seasonal foods and grown with proximity, is the best option. Buying food that has been transported in containers from one part of the world to the other causes a great loss of vitamins and minerals. Besides, there’s wide use of preservatives and chemicals by the food industry to keep these products in perfect physical condition (but not nutritional).

2.Food Conservation

It’s important to emphasize that it’s necessary to buy organic vegetables to be consumed in the shortest period possible. Storing these vegetables in the fridge or freezer makes them poor especially in vitamins.

Especially green leaves that have a high concentration of Magnesium and C vitamin, should be consumed as soon as possible.

A recipe that I recommend you to try is:

Green Leaf Salad with Gomasio and Nori Seaweed

3.Better absorption by combining certain foods

Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) are better absorbed with a lipid element, that is, with oil. For example, orange-yellow vegetables such as carrots, squash … rich in beta carotene (provitamin A) are absorbed much better by adding a dash of olive oil or another type of oil.

I recommend you try this recipe:

 Autumnal Nishime of Mustard and Sesame Root Vegetables

The combination of very concentrated and dense foods such as (fried, sauces …) that make it hard for our liver to process them, it’s interesting to combine them with bitter-tasting vegetables (endive, escarole, chicory …) or fermented (sauerkraut, pressed salads) which make the liver’s energy activate and can secrete more bile so that they can be digested and absorbed easier.

4.Chewing

One thing that we all know, but we have trouble practising. The action of chewing is essential when digesting and absorbing food, especially carbohydrates. Eating chewing well, and (more or less) in silence is one of the best things we can do to improve absorption. Even the soups or creams of vegetables are necessary to chew, you can test with this delicious recipe:

Celery Root Cream with Basil Oil

5. Avoid certain antinutrients

Solanine: Solanine is a substance present in foods such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants …these group of vegetables are called Night Shade Vegetables. This substance is a natural, stimulating alkaloid, which is sometimes is used to make medicines. But it also hinders the absorption of minerals and is involved in the calcification of soft tissues.

Phytic acid: Phytic acid is present mainly in the husks of cereals and beans. It’s a substance that contains antinutrients that stop the absorption of calcium and iron. Soaking cereals and pulses (and throwing the liquid after) can lower the amounts of phytic acid and so, improve absorption.

You can try with this recipe:

Stew of azuki pumpkin and chestnuts.

Azuki are alkaline legumes that cooked with kombu seaweed, are digested and absorbed properly.

Therefore, the key is that the food we prepare and eat, its digestion is carried out in the best possible way to be able to take advantage of them properly.

Of course, our physical and emotional state will also influence this whole process, so, in addition to certain keys that we have mentioned above, good management of our stress levels will be essential, in addition to doing moderate physical exercise.

0