There is no perfect meal. The purpose of this statement is, there is no food or drink that contains all the nutrients that meet your needs in one meal. Therefore, to get macro and micro nutrients, it is better to eat with foods that vary every day. In the body, all the food you eat will be digested simultaneously and the nutrients contained in it will be absorbed. When the digestive process occurs, the nutrients will interact with each other and communicate with each other.
What are the interactions between nutrients in the body?
Interactions that occur between nutrients affect the amount of absorption in the body. The level of absorption of a nutrient in the body is called bioavailability. In conducting interactions, each nutrient has its own role to influence the absorption of other nutrients. The role of each nutrient is as an inhibitor and enhancer. Both of these roles will affect the amount of absorption and determine the level of nutrients that can be absorbed by the body. Then what is the meaning of each of these roles?
Enhancers, nutrients that increase absorption
All nutrients can be enhancers and inhibitors as well as other nutrients. Nutrients that become enhancers are nutrients that can help absorb other nutrients in the body. When nutrients meet with enhancers, they can be absorbed maximally by the body so that the amount in the body will increase and increase rapidly. In addition, enhancers can also protect a nutrient from interference from inhibitors that can reduce the absorption rate in the body.
For example, if you often eat food sources of animal protein, such as red meat, chicken, and fish and then you still experience iron deficiency in the blood, then you need to eat foods that contain high sources of vitamin C. Iron in red meat, chicken meat, or fish, has a good 'relationship' with vitamin C. Vitamin C is an enhancer of iron which can increase absorption of iron in the body. This means you can get more iron in your body with just a glass of orange juice and iron-rich foods such as beef and green leafy vegetables. Another example, fat also acts as an enhancer or substance that increases absorption of vitamin A. Because of the fat-soluble properties of vitamin A, the presence of fat in the body makes it easy to digest and absorb vitamin A
Inhibitors, nutrients that inhibit absorption of nutrients
Unlike enhancers that can increase the absorption of a nutrient, inhibitors actually inhibit the absorption of a nutrient. Substance inhibitors inhibit the absorption process in various ways, namely:
- Binding the nutrient so that the body does not recognize the nutrient and then the intestine does not absorb it because it considers it an unknown foreign substance.
- Change the shape of a nutrient when it's in the body, so it can't be digested and absorbed by the intestine.
- Compete to be equally absorbed by the body, for example in plant-based food sources that contain substances pitat which are rivals for iron, calcium, and zinc. This can harm the body because it can make the body lack of minerals. To prevent this, you can reduce the level of pitat in vegetables by fermentation or soaking it in water.
An example of another inhibitor is the interaction of calcium with non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is iron which is obtained from plant-based food sources, such as spinach. Calcium and non-heme iron are inhitors for both. When these two minerals are in the body and are ready to be absorbed, these two minerals bind to the transporters on the surface of the intestinal cell. But when iron wants to enter cells and be absorbed by cells, calcium actually blocks the entrance of iron in cells. Therefore, if you take iron supplements do not be accompanied by consumption of milk simultaneously, to avoid this disorder.
Both of these roles, inhibitors and enhancers can cause bad effects and good for the body, because it will disrupt the balance of nutrients in the body. If a nutrient that is excessive in the body then meets an enhancer and makes the amount of these nutrients increase in the body and this is not good for health. Vice versa, when the body lacks a certain nutrient and then interacts with other nutrients that are inhibitors, it can aggravate the condition of deficiencies that have previously occurred.
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