We often hear people say, “you are what you eat.” But the truth is, we are not what we eat, nor are we what we digest. We are, however, what we absorb. The vitamins and minerals in the healthful food you so religiously incorporate into your diet are nothing until they’ve passed through the gut lining into your bloodstream. That’s why it’s vital to have a healthy digestive tract and good digestive processes because what you absorb depends on them.Whatever you take in orally—or topically—will have an effect on your body. Here, we break down everything you need to know about it.
Digestion and Absorption
Digestion and absorption are two processes that take place in the digestive system. As soon as you take your first bite of any meal, the process of digestion begins. Chewing makes food easily digested as it releases helpful enzymes to alter food structure before it enters the stomach.
After digestion, absorption follows. It is the process of absorbing the nutrients from the food you ingested into the bloodstream. How effective you can absorb actually depends on a good digestive process.
Factors Affecting Absorption
Produced in the gastrointestinal digestive tract, these enzymes are active proteins tasked to metabolize food for easy absorption of nutrients into the body. Some examples include lactase, amylase, and lipase.
Combination of Nutrients
There are actually particular foods which you can combine to easily absorb nutrients. For instance, vitamin B is more effective when you take it along with vitamin C. Vitamin C plus iron also enhances your chances to absorb iron from iron-fortified food like spinach, raisins, tofu, and some cereals. Quinoa cereals and freshly squeezed orange juice are considered great breakfast choices.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that produce different types of enzymes for easy digestion and absorption. They come in food like yogurt and kefir, to name a few. On the other hand, prebiotics are carbohydrates that your body can’t digest but are considered helpful in stimulating the growth of probiotics.
Factors Negatively Affecting Healthy Digestion
Have you been bingeing on fast food lately? Maybe it’s been quite a while since you’ve seen an apple? If that's the case, then don’t be surprised why you’ve been feeling uncomfortable, bloated and even tired for some time now. Processed and fried food is difficult to digest, so you may want to switch to the greens now before it’s too late.
When you’re too stressed out, your body feels it, also. The adrenaline and cortisol push blood away from the digestive system, making digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals less favorable.
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There are quite a few drugs and medicines that could hamper your digestion. Antibiotics, for example, eradicate broad-spectrum bacteria. In the process, however, they could also wipe out good bacteria. Contraceptives, also interrupt the balance of microorganisms.
Oral Absorption of Vitamins/Minerals
Food that you consume contains vitamins and minerals, although some produce higher nutrition content than others. These vitamins and minerals are absorbed into the bloodstream. How your body absorbs the particular nutrients depends on the type of vitamin you consume. Every vitamin or nutrients needs an intrinsic factor, like protein or fat, so your body can pick it up and be absorbed into your bloodstream.
Absorption of Vitamins/Minerals from Topicals
Aside from eating vitamin-enriched food and orally taking multivitamins, another way to take in vitamins and minerals is through topical products. In fact, some products are better absorbed by the skin than straight into the bloodstream.
CBD topicals, for instance, contain a variety of beneficial nutrients that effectively protect the skin from damage and exposure to external elements. From serums to creams and tinctures, these CBD compounds are ideal treatments since you can apply them in the area where it’s needed the most and ultimately experience the holistic effects of cannabinoids.
Choose What You Absorb
Proper absorption leads to good health. You can start by ditching those burgers and fries to fresh and organic food in to boost the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. Consider using helpful topicals, too. If you can do this, you’re finally off to a good start. After all, you are what you absorb.