How you can improve your nutrient intake from foods!

We are back again for another edition of 3 question Friday! Where our head nutritionist Ben answers your questions!

Congratulations to Anita, Carlo and Suzy who all won $20 gift vouchers just for asking Ben a question. You can always ask Ben a question at ben@13seeds.com.au

This week’s questions are:

1. Anita wanted to know “How can I improve nutrient absorption?”
2. Carlo was curious “How much water do we need to drink a day?”
3. Suzy asked “I've been adding the hemp protein my overnight oats...is it ok to leave it overnight or will it affect the protein content?”

1. How can I improve nutrient absorption?

When we eat food, our body starts to break the food in our mouth with digestive enzymes (chemicals in the body), these enzymes continue to do their work until they reach the small intestine, where the nutrients are then absorbed into the blood where they do their work.

Photo source: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/ap2/chapter/digestive-system-processes-and-regulation/

However, there are many reasons that can affect nutrient absorption that include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues such as IBS and Coeliac disease
  • Medications: antacids, hormone medications, antidepressants, blood pressure medications
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Poor gut health
  • Poor diet 

But don’t worry, we’ve got 6 tips to help improve your nutrient absorption!

1. Stress management

When you’re stressed, we are in a fight or flight state meaning our body doesn’t want to consume food, instead it thinks that you are at risk of danger so theres no need for digestion right now. Try meditation, yoga, breathe work or take a few deep long breaths before a meal to calm your nervous system.

2. Chew your food slowly

Chewing your food slowly can help take the load off your digestive system. Try to chew your food slowly to help improve digestion and reduce digestive issues such as bloating.

3. Support a healthy gut

Having a healthy gut can help to improve nutrient absorption. You can support gut health by eating lots of fibre through fresh fruit and vegetables, whole-grains, nuts, seeds and potentially taking probiotics (1)

4. Eat healthy fats

Vitamins such as A, D, E, and K are fat soluble meaning they need to be consumed with fats in the diet to absorbed efficiently. Hemp seed oil is an easy way to increase your healthy fat intake (2)

5. Avoid acidic foods/drinks (eg. alcohol and caffeine)

Excessive alcohol and coffee intake can damage the stomach lining, that can reduce nutrient absorption

6. Hydrate

Increasing your water intake can help you have more regular bowel movements, improve nutrient absorption and reduce digestive issues.

2. How much water do we need to drink a day?

You've probably heard that eight glasses a day is what you should aim for, however this all depends on many factors such as age, sex, bodyweight, physical activity. Warmer climates also require more hydration as you sweat more!

There are Nutrient Reference Values advising that adult men should drink 2.6 litres of water per day (about 10 cups) and adult women should drink 2.1 litres per day (about 8 cups) on average. Although this would differ based on bodyweight too! The best way to know if your hydrated is by the colour of your urine.

Photo source: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/urine-colour-chart

3. Suzy: I've been adding the hemp protein to my overnight oats... Is it ok to leave it overnight or will it affect the protein content?

Protein is a great way to start the day as not only is it an energy source, but also helps the body to recover and repair.

This is tough one! Amino acids (the building blocks found in protein) do undergo changes overtime making them less effective. However, there are mixed reviews and it’s hard to find a definitive answer. Some say that the effects on protein will be negligible within 24 hours, while others say 48 hours. Either way, if you make overnight oats or put protein in your smoothie it’s going to be fine, so no stress! 

If you have any questions or need further support, feel free to email our head nutritionist Ben at ben@13seeds.com.au

Disclaimer:

This article does not constitute medical advice and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please see your medical professional before implementing the above.

References:

  1. https://aspenjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0884533611436116
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022227520401786

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