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Video: How To Avoid Dietary Deficiencies: Our Advice
Nutrient deficiencies are a time bomb that could cause several health problems and even contribute to the development of certain diseases. It is essential to know and remember that nutrition cannot be effective if the assimilation of nutrients is not optimal. After ingestion, food must cross two main barriers in order to reach cells. The barriers in question are the intestinal wall and the cell membrane. First of all, the imbalance of the intestinal flora can disrupt digestion or even alter the intestinal mucosa, thus generating assimilation disorders. In order for food to cross the cell membrane, it must have a certain flexibility that promotes exchanges. An excess of cholesterol would tend to stiffen the membrane, thus reducing cellular exchanges. Certain toxic elements can also prevent the action of certain enzymes involved in the processes of cellular assimilation. We therefore realize that before talking about dietary deficiencies, it is important to understand the way in which our body absorbs and assimilates the food we eat.
Dietary deficiencies: definition
We talk about dietary deficiencies when the intake of vitamins or minerals does not meet the needs of the body. The pathologies that can result are several, of varying severity. For example, we can list: anemia (iron deficiency), scurvy (vitamin C deficiency), beriberi (vitamin B1 deficiency), pellagra (vitamin B3 deficiency) etc. The causes can be due to different factors:
- Malabsorption: the body's inability to absorb the nutrients provided by nutrition in the intestines;
- Poor assimilation: the absorption of nutrients takes place, but the body cannot assimilate them;
-Malnutrition: food intake is insufficient.
What is a balanced and varied diet?
A balanced diet is the combination of diversity on the plate and regularity of meals. Why exactly these two points? Depending on our age, it is important that the diet provides a caloric intake proportionate to our energy expenditure and adapted to our body size, general condition etc. But it must also be varied and well distributed throughout the day to provide all the nutrients necessary for the proper functioning of our body. To talk about a balanced plate, make sure it contains: 2/3 various vegetables (cooked or raw), 1/3 grain products (whole grains are preferred), and 1/3 protein.
As regards a varied diet, this must include at least one food from each of the following categories every day: dairy products; meat, fish, eggs; cereal and starch products; vegetables; fruits. Having three meals a day, based on the essential foods listed above, allows for the intake of necessary elements like vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and omega. A diversified diet is normally sufficient to avoid dietary deficiencies.
Groups potentially at risk of dietary deficiencies
Generally, to limit the risk of dietary deficiencies, it would suffice to eat in a balanced and varied way. However, there are groups of people potentially at risk, which we will list below:
-Pregnant women are more exposed to iron deficiency. They are also predisposed to zinc or even vitamin deficiencies.
-Women of childbearing age are also exposed to iron deficiency, due to menstrual loss.
-The elderly can suffer from various nutritional deficiencies, especially in calcium.
-Growing children are also exposed to iron deficiency.
-High-level athletes, because of their sweating, lose a large amount of nutrients.
Factors that contribute to impaired absorption of nutrients
Aside from the factors we listed at the beginning of the article - malabsorption, poor assimilation, malnutrition - there are still a few habits that could contribute to impaired nutrient absorption.
-Caffeine can inhibit the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamins C, D, and B. Caffeine should therefore be avoided with a meal or with supplements of vitamins.
-Alcohol should also be avoided with a meal. It can decrease the secretion of digestive enzymes and, therefore, damage the cells that line the stomach and intestines. This results in impaired absorption of nutrients.
-Foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, beets, cocoa, strawberries, cherries, apricots, and kiwis, can reduce the absorption of calcium from other foods, as well as iron, phosphorus, copper and magnesium. It should also be taken into account that oxalates increase the risk of developing kidney stones in predisposed people.
-Foods loaded with digestion inhibitors - lectins, phytates, saponins etc.- should be reduced, because some people are more sensitive to them, just like gluten. These are mainly seeds, legumes and grains. You can at least learn to treat your food properly to deal with the problem. Generally, soaking and cooking give a satisfactory result.
-Foods that are too hot and especially those that are too cold are unfavorable to digestion.
How to improve digestion to improve the breakdown of nutrients?
The way we eat is also very important for the breakdown of nutrients. Here's what to do to improve digestion.
• To digest well, it is essential to be calm. Stress and rushing tend to slow down our digestion.
• Chewing well is also essential so that the food is broken up into smaller pieces that are easier to digest. In addition, a first enzymatic action on the sugars and fats of chewed foods is launched. It should be remembered that by chewing more, we eat more slowly and we feel full. It helps to avoid overeating.
• Drinking with meals is not recommended. This can dilute digestive juices and make digestion difficult. If you still want to drink with your meals, prefer a hot drink and try to drink in small sips.
• Watching your acid-base balance is important for the activity of certain digestive enzymes. Take into account that if the amount of stomach acid in the stomach is not adequate, it can interfere with the breakdown of food, especially protein.
• Regular fiber intake is very important to cleanse the colon, improve digestion and prevent constipation.
• Adequate hydration is also essential to enjoy good digestion and not suffer from constipation.
How to properly combine nutrients to enjoy better absorption?
• Vitamin D intakes play an essential role in the absorption of calcium;
• Consumption of good fats is important for efficient absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, E, K and D;
• For better iron absorption, eat foods rich in iron with vitamin C;
• Iron, zinc and copper interact with each other by competing for absorption from the intestines. This means that consuming too much of one of these minerals can cause a deficiency of another mineral. For example, consuming too much zinc will decrease copper absorption, while excess iron will decrease zinc absorption. It is therefore very important to ensure that your diet is balanced so that it contains sources of copper (legumes, cereals, liver) and zinc (meat, eggs, dairy products) in order to establish injury prevention.
How to take care of your gut microbiome?
It is thanks to the good bacteria that food in the intestinal system is digested and broken down. In addition, they produce B vitamins, which are essential for many bodily functions and help control bad bacteria, pathogens and parasites that live in or live in our bodies, which can weaken digestion and block absorption of nutrients. essential nutrients. So, to improve our digestion, we need to take care of our gut microbiome.
1. As you already know, antibiotics cause damage to the microbiome - the good bacteria that live in our intestines. Therefore, one can suffer from functional digestive disorders, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, infections or metabolic diseases. Taking broad-spectrum antibiotics or taking antibiotics repeatedly and successively is the most aggressive for the intestinal flora. So antibiotics should be avoided, except in cases of absolute necessity. And don't forget to take a probiotic at the same time during the antibiotic therapy.
2. In order to support your gut microbiome, it is advisable to eat fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, kefir, and tempeh. These provide a healthy dose of probiotic bacteria.
3. Consuming foods rich in prebiotics is also very important for nurturing good bacteria and taking care of the microbiome. Among these foods are garlic, onion, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, leeks, asparagus and bananas.