Making the Most of the Nutrients in Your Diet

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As we mentioned in last week’s post, in which we discussed the latest federal data on childhood obesity, March is National Nutrition Month! Kudos to you if you’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to make positive changes to your diet over the last few weeks! When you’re focused on improving your diet–whether it’s by eating more nutrient-dense foods, incorporating more protein into every meal, or increasing your intake of healthy fats–you want to ensure that you are making the most of the foods you eat. Read on to learn more about how certain nutritional supplements and food combinations can help boost nutrient absorption!

Nutritional Supplements that Support Healthy Digestion

When you eat a healthy, nutrient-dense meal, you probably pat yourself on the back for making a positive decision and move on with your day. However, in your GI tract, the process is only just getting started. The process of breaking down macronutrients and absorbing vitamins and minerals requires the coordinated action of a wide range of digestive enzymes and body fluids–and even the slightest interference can prevent your body from getting the most out of your well-planned meal. Some people are also genetically predispositioned to have trouble digesting certain macronutrients, such as starches and fats, due to a lack of certain digestive enzymes. In serious cases, you may even be diagnosed with carbohydrate, fat, or protein malabsorption. Whether or not you have been diagnosed with malabsorption, your digestive system can benefit from a natural supplement that contains digestive enzymes. Supplements like Prozyme and Ultrazyme help make sure your body is breaking down key nutrients so that you derive the full benefit from every healthy meal you eat.

Another option for healthy-eaters looking to boost nutrient absorption is a probiotic supplement. Probiotic supplements introduce “good” bacteria that support digestion and motility. These “good” bacteria can outcompete the “bad” bacteria in your gut that cause inflammation in your intestinal lining, which can prevent in proper absorption of the nutrients you eat. In addition, certain strains of “good” bacteria in probiotic supplements break down the indigestible fiber you eat and produce beneficial metabolites. For instance, some bacteria ferment fiber to produce butyrate, a multifunctional compound that is involved in immune function, gene expression, and cell-to-cell communication. If you’re packing your diet with high-fiber foods, you want to make sure that your gut contains these bacterial strains, and a probiotic supplement can help.

Choosing Bioavailable Nutritional Supplements

In addition to making sure that your body can make the most of the nutrients from the food you eat, you also want to guarantee that your body is fully utilizing the dietary supplements you take. After all, there’s no point in popping a pill every morning if the nutrients it contains simply go straight through your GI tract without actually being absorbed. Therefore, if you’re thinking about celebrating National Nutrition Month by trying a health-boosting dietary supplement, bioavailability is a significant concern. That’s especially true if you’re considering one of the following supplements:

 

  • Curcurmin. This versatile phytochemical can help you recover from a cold, reduce pain after an acute injury, manage an autoimmune disorder, or even prevent cancer. However, it is also notorious for being poorly absorbed by the body. If you decide to take it as a supplement, look for a formulation that naturally improves bioavailability by combining curcumin with black pepper extract.
  • B Vitamins. All of the eight B vitamins are involved in energy metabolism, supporting the breakdown of your healthy meals so that you stay energized all day. Each B vitamin also has unique benefits, which is why more people are looking to full-spectrum B vitamin supplements to boost their all-around health. Today, scientists can “activate” B vitamin supplements, naturally modifying them so that they are easier for your body to absorb when you take a supplement.
  • Iron. Iron-deficiency anemia can leave you feeling tired and drained, no matter how healthy you think your diet is. The standard treatment is to start an iron supplement, but traditional supplements have low bioavailability and tend to interact with foods in a way that prevents absorption. However, more recently developed formulations, like iron glycinate, are proven to have higher bioavailability and lower food reactivity.

Power Food Combinations

Combining certain foods can also help you maximize nutrient absorption. Here are some options to consider as National Nutrition month draws to a close:

  • Stir fry or salad with kale and cashews. Kale and other leafy greens are high in vitamin K, which is a fat-soluble vitamin, so you can increase absorption if you eat it alongside healthy fats like nuts.
  • Vegetarian chili with lentils and red bell peppers. When you combine iron-rich lentils with vegetables that are high in vitamin C, like red bell peppers, you can increase your absorption of iron–even if you don’t eat red meat.

 

Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness is here to help with all of your nutritional needs–through National Nutrition Month and beyond. Contact us today to learn more about our dietary supplement offerings and nutritional counseling services!

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