The older we get, the more we realize that keeping fit and healthy is not just about how we look on the outside.
Taking care of what’s inside is pretty important, and proper nutrient absorption is vital for keeping organs healthy and in good working condition.
So what are the best ways to help your body absorb nutrients? Take a look at the article below to get you started.
#1: Reduce Stress
Believe it or not, how quickly the body absorbs nutrients is not solely based on what we eat or how much exercise we do. Stress is a huge factor when it comes to nutrient absorption, and if your stress levels are high, your body may not be receiving the nutrients it needs.
When we are stressed, the brain releases a hormone known as cortisol. This can heavily impact the gut, causing an imbalance in bacteria and cramping. This, in turn, slows down the absorption of nutrients.
Breathing techniques are a great way to relieve stress and improve nutrient absorption. Also, spend time outdoors, and treat yourself to a little ‘me time’ every now and again.
#2: Eat A Good Combination of Foods
In order to provide your body with nutrients, you need to be eating a well-balanced diet.
Each mealtime should consist of a broad variety of fruits, vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. Eating foods rich in vitamin E, A, D, K, and C, paired with minerals and other nutrients, is essential for overall health.
This allows your body to absorb a wide scope of nutrients and all you have to do is make sure you eat plenty of different foods!
#3: Take Probiotics
Probiotics work to improve gut health. Examples include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha.
Many yogurt products also contain live bacteria and some are designed as probiotic ‘shots’ that you can take first thing in the morning.
They are live microorganisms or gut bacteria (although we don’t think that sounds too appealing) that have been proven to increase nutrient absorption and prevent several different illnesses, including:
- Crohn’s disease
- Urinary tract infections
- Digestive tract infections
In 2019 a study took place to find evidence that probiotics were beneficial to the body. 40 patients were given a supplement; 20 were given a placebo, and the other 20 were given a real probiotic.
Results confirmed that those who had taken the genuine probiotic showed increased levels of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in the blood.
#4: Try Meditation
As previously mentioned, nutrient absorption can be affected by high levels of the stress hormone – cortisol.
One way of dealing with stress is to try meditation. Taking 5 minutes out of your day to meditate and reflect has been proven to reduce stress levels.
The gut and the brain are connected, and what happens in the brain often affects the gut. If you are anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed, the brain releases stress hormones, so the chances of your gut health suffering are pretty high.
This can lead to constipation, cramping, nausea, etc.
Finding ways to keep cortisol levels at bay will increase nutrient absorption and balance your gut health.
#5: Cut Back on Alcohol
Nutrition absorption is heavily impacted by alcohol.
Alcohol damages the cells lining the stomach and intestines, inhibiting the breakdown of food molecules. This essentially slows down the digestion process which slows the rate at which nutrients are absorbed.
If you drink alcohol regularly, try cutting it down if you can. Instead of drinking a couple of glasses of wine every night, try saving yourself until the weekend.
Not only will this increase how quickly your body absorbs nutrients, but you will also find that you’ll be able to sleep better, and you will generally have much more energy.
#6: Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is one of the major causes of constipation. Water is essential for transporting nutrients and vitamins around the body. That’s why it is important to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.
Not only does staying hydrated regulate bowel movements, but it is also responsible for the breakdown of food when it reacts with digestive enzymes and stomach acid.
TOP TIP: If you also struggle to drink the water like many other people due to the lack of taste, you can always add your own flavoring using chopped-up fruits such as lemons (a great dose of vitamin C), limes, and even strawberries. Alternatively, you can swap water for decaffeinated or fruit-infused tea.
#7: Black Pepper Extract
Historically, black pepper extract has been something of a health remedy. It is thought to improve respiration, boost immunity and improve digestion.
While many of us use black pepper as nothing more than a seasoning, you’ll be surprised at just how beneficial this wondrous spice can be!
Studies have shown that black pepper extract may also prevent the growth of cancerous tumors.
#8: Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Unfortunately, there is no one-diet-fits-all when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. However, we do know that providing our body with a variety of nutrients and staying hydrated will, in turn, help us sleep better. So, why is that?
Eating a diet that consists of high carbohydrates, fatty acids, and sugary drinks will imminently lead to a pattern of disturbed sleep.
One study showed that a group of males eating a high protein diet had significantly fewer waking episodes than those on a high-carb diet.
#9: Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are crucial when it comes to nutrient absorption.
Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D, A, E, and K can only be absorbed by the body when eaten with fats. Healthy fats such as avocados, nuts (unsalted), and olive oil (extra virgin) are all good options to incorporate into your diet.
TOP TIP: Healthy fats are still fats, so if you are trying to lose a few pounds, be careful about how much you are eating, as the options mentioned above can still lead to weight gain.
#10: Cut Down on Caffeine
Caffeine is known to interfere with calcium and iron absorption.
Research has shown that drinking too much caffeine can lead to a depletion of nutrients, making it difficult for the digestive system to absorb anything at all.
However, you would have to drink a lot of caffeine for this to affect the body grossly. If you do drink a lot of coffee or energy drinks, you may want to think about cutting back slightly to increase nutrient absorption.
There are many ways in which you can help your body absorb nutrients.
While you will find a LOT of myths about what you need to do to increase muscle absorption, the best way to keep yourself at your best is to follow a well-balanced, healthy diet, exercise regularly, and keep yourself hydrated. The rest will follow.