We’ve used the term bioavailable before, and while it seems pretty self-explanatory, it might still beg the question - what exactly is that? Since it’s not such a black and white concept, we thought it would be a good idea to have a quick conversation about it so that we’re all on the same page. Let’s get started!
First, what is bioavailable? Bio = life, which means you. Your body. Your physiological functions. Bioavailable is simply understood as anything that is available to your body.
There are certain degrees of bioavailability and every nutrient falls into the lineup at a different point. To go through each and every nutrient and place them in that line up would be quite the endeavor, so we will just talk about some important factors within this realm.
Since everybody is different, (remember our talks on bio-individuality? The pieces are coming together…) bioavailability will transpire slightly different for each of us. Often times, the immediate availability of a certain nutrient depends on how well the gut can break it down, which depends pretty much on how well your gut can break it down. For example, a person who is generally more inflamed may have a harder time releasing the right digestive enzymes to break food down and then utilize the available nutrients. Therefore, bioavailability relies on you as well as its own makeup. This is more something to keep in mind when thinking about your food or supplements as a disclaimer in a way. However, most of the time this doesn’t affect bioavailability to a noticeable degree. It’s worth mentioning, but not worth worrying about.
There are two main food groups that matter in this discussion, and Eufic.org puts it best:
The bioavailability of macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, fats – is usually very high at more than 90% of the amount ingested. On the other hand, micronutrients, i.e. vitamins and minerals, and bioactive phytochemicals (e.g. flavonoids, carotenoids) can vary widely in the extent they are absorbed and utilized.
That being said, you can see that your macronutrients don’t give much cause to worry about. It’s all those little guys roaming around inside the macronutrients that your looking to utilize. This all depends on the enzymatic breakdown process, which can get quite complicated and will certainly vary. Our goal is not to be able to hand out scientific certifications at the end of this blog, but simply to help you understand why bioavailable is important. Now that we have a good idea of what it means, let’s talk about that last point.
When a food, supplement, or nutrient claim of any sort talks about bioavailable, this is a good thing. If a product is talking about it, that means they have likely taken the time to produce something that your body can utilize. This is mostly relevant to supplements. However, certain foods have nutrients that may be more readily available than others. The most important thing to remember with this is that the kind of food you eat will have the most impact on your health, which is the whole point. Second in line is bioavailability, simply because if you eat the right foods first, you’ll automatically be consuming a more bioavailable source of nutrients.
Then what are the right foods? The ones with the most nutrients. Do a compare and contrast on a slice of bread versus any vegetable. Which one has more of the good stuff? Eat that one.
How are the right foods right? Weird question, right? In other words, does it matter what I do to my vegetable? Yes! Some vegetables are best raw while others need a little heating or at the least can handle it without actually losing nutrients. Here is a great article on how to prepare your food for the most bioavailable form of it.
This is all important because if you simply consume foods willy-nilly you may not be getting the most out of them. The other word for “getting the most out of them” is called bioavailability.
For Cali’flour, our goal is to help you understand your own health, not just provide a healthy product. If you have any questions or would like to know more about certain topics, please feel free to comment below! We love the conversations.