This Digestion Tip Is Having The Opposite Effect On Your Nutrient Absorption (And How To Fix It)
I was watching an infomercial for the Nutrient Infuser. If you haven’t seen it, basically it’s another NutriBullet.
The presenter blended up his recipe in the Nutrient Infuser and also in a regular blender. He then passed the liquid through a sieve to point out that chunks of food are not the way to get nutrients from your blends/smoothies. He goes on to say that the Infuser turns food into “super” food.
I think I burnt myself spitting out my coffee while laughing.
There’s a big problem with this concept and it’s screwing with your digestion along with your absorption of nutrients.
The total opposite of what you want!
Go to a mirror right now, and open your mouth. Can you see those white things? They’re called teeth and we evolved with them for a reason. They’re the second step in digestion!
If they weren’t supposed to be there, quite frankly, we wouldn’t have them.
We have no need to fly for survival, and logically enough, we don’t have wings.
Digesting our food properly is the most important thing you can do to get nutrients into your cells, but there are plenty of things that can shut down this important process, including the act of liquefying your food.
We, as humans do not have nutrient deficiencies or impaired digestion due to some weird “food blender syndrome”.
Today we’re going to look at digestion and nutrient absorption, how it works and how you can improve it without blending your food to sieve sized particles.
Digestion Starts With Your Head And Ends Just Before You Poop
The first stage of digestion is called the cephalic phase. It starts in your brain at the sight, smell and thought of food. At this stage your body is priming itself, activating nerves and releasing digestive chemicals ready for food.
The taste of food is the next step in the cephalic phase, once the food hits your palate. At this stage you start to release amylase in your saliva. This enzyme helps us digest carbs.
And then we chew. This mechanical action breaks down food particles to the right size to continue our digestive process.
By the time your food goes down your throat, it is already partially digested and ready for some chemical digestion in the stomach.
In the stomach we release Hydrochloric Acid. This breaks down food particles even more. The stomach has a ‘churning’ like action that mixes everything up and ensures that all food is getting digested properly.
Our meal (which is now liquid) then enters the duodenum and at this point is where our pancreas and liver/gall bladder are releasing more enzymes (lipases, proteases, amylases). This is where our food is broken down into its tiniest, single molecule fragments.
Those tiny molecules are now small enough to diffuse through the intestinal wall and end up in your blood stream as useable nutrients.
But we’re not done yet!
In the large intestine, our microbes (bacteria) get to work on the fiber, and with that they make some cool funky vitamins (like B12) and anti-inflammatory fats for the body.
And then you poop out the waste.
The Brain Affects Digestion And Therefore Nutrient Absorption
Again, think about the digestive process; it starts up in the brain.
Things that affect the brain affect digestion. This includes stress, being too busy, watching fear and bloodshed on the news while eating or reading about financial market crashes in the newspaper over breakfast.
And bypassing the brain and the teeth can have a detrimental effect on your digestion and absorption of nutrition.
(side note, other things affect digestion, but these are topics for another day ok)
What Happens When Food Bypasses These Stations?
- We shut down those first brain parts of digestion; the ones stimulated by the act of preparing and experiencing the sensation of food. This can happen when we prep all our food in advance, eat frozen pre-packaged meals or pay little attention, care or love while cooking. And this is the same thing that happens when we dump large chunks of food into a blender.
- If food is highly liquefied when it hits the gut there is a chance it enters the duodenum in this liquid form, without the stomach throwing some acid on it, and therefore it can end up not entirely chemically digested by the time it gets to the final stages of digestion.
- As this liquid (and undigested) food passes through the duodenum and small intestine in larger molecule sizes it can bypass absorption, not able to diffuse through the intestinal wall. And the other side of the coin is that if you have leaky gut, then these large particles end up in the blood stream creating an immune response and food intolerances.
Yes, blending your food so it can pass through a sieve does look like tiny food molecules. But from a microscopic cell’s point of view, they’re still giant boulders Your body wants single molecule sized food, individual sugars, amino acids and fatty acids so it can make it’s own stuff out of them.
And it wants you digest your own food so it can do that.
Enhance Your Nutrition Without Costly Blenders Or Handfuls of Supplements.
- Eat a wholefoods diet, which will always be higher in nutrients than things in a packet (regardless of whether you blend it or not)
- Eat a variety of nutrient dense foods and condiments (garlic, turmeric, sea salt, greens, colours, mixture of meat & vegetarian, include good carbs, proteins and fats.)
- Stimulate your brain to start the digestive process. Cook and/or take a bit of time to prepare your food and pay attention to your food. Even just some cottage cheese on rice cakes can be done with attention instead of autopilot. Learn to cook using flavour and colour so you can stimulate the senses.
- Sit down and chew your food slowly, enjoy the eating process over a period of 20mins. Make this a relaxed setting, free from stress. Use mindful eating strategies and be present with your food. You can drink a little water, but not too much.
- If you are really concerned about nutrient depletion, use 1-2TBSP powdered greens, 1 tsp sea salt and 1-2 servings of liquid mineral supplement daily to “infuse” your body with nutrients along with 2-3 litres of fresh water and your daily wholefoods diet.
There’s nothing wrong with a shake or smoothie loaded with veges, drink them as part of a balanced diet. Just don’t get fooled by the message that ‘un-sieve-able’ food is bad’ … a few chewable lumps could end up enhancing your nutrition more than you think!