Before beginning a journey of expanding awareness through micronutrients (vitamins and minerals – click here to read about micronutrients) it is important to understand how the process of food digestion and absorption, transport and use of nutrients works.
- Chewing: Foods should be chewed thoroughly with the teeth to moisten them with the saliva produced and facilitate their passage through the esophagus (avoid consuming liquids when eating solids and vice versa).
- Digestion: When the salivated foods arrive to the stomach they mix with the gastric juices breaking down the components so they can be absorbed.
- Absorption: then they reach the small intestine where they mix with bile, pancreatic juice and intestinal juices to finish digestion and initiate absorption (avoid the use of laxatives as they may reduce the absorption of some minerals).
- Transport: When absorbed in the walls of the small intestine, the nutrients are transported by the blood to the cells that need them.
- Usage: lipids turn into triglycerides. They can be transformed into the liver and deposited in adipose tissue as a reserve of energy. Carbohydrates are transported as glucose to generate energy. And the amino acids of the proteins go into the general circulation to synthesize structural proteins and enzymes.
As we see, nutrition is an integration of various mechanical and chemical processes. It is important that we give our body what it takes to maintain its chemical balance by avoiding overeating. For some people the consumption of gluten can compromise the process of nutrient absorption, so it is important to moderate their consumption. We can follow these 7 steps to improve nutrient absorption:
- Avoid overeating in any type of food.
- Consume liquid and solids separately.
- Prefer the consumption of animal proteins with vegetables or cereals and grains with vegetables. Avoid including animal protein, cereals and grains in the same meal.
- Avoid foods that manifest any adverse reaction in the body.
- Give preference to natural foods (fruits, vegetables, cereals).
- Mineralize the water by adding a little baking soda, sea salt and lemon.
- Consume nuts and seeds (germinated if possible).
The human body is an extraordinary machine. Each cell has its function and at the same time is part of the whole. Let’s create new habits to better treat our cells and keep our bodies healthy.