17 Jun Digestibility
Here at The Better Bar, digestibility is an important aspect for us formulating our bars. Having a lifelong battle of allergies myself, having consistent digestion wasn’t always on the table and the times I could have great digestion, I often had to compromise on taste just to get things… well, moving. So when I started The Better Bar journey, it was important to me to look up the process of digestibility and why some foods are ultimately better than others.
What is digestibility and what’s the importance of it?
To put things bluntly: Digestibility refers to the amount of nutrient absorbed by the individual and is generally calculated as the amount of nutrient consumed minus the amount of nutrient retained in the feces.
All proteins have a biologic value measured in percentage terms, which tells you the usable amino acid content of the protein. Basically, the higher the biological value the better.
Plant-based whole foods, historically, have a vast array of benefits in the digestion department. Because they are mainly fiber, water, vitamins, minerals, or water-based fats or complex sugars, your body can break them down easier to process into nutrients. This naturally simplifies digestion and also minimizes the number of acidic wastes that end up in the body.
Protein bars are a good option and seem to be a good go-to fast-food for anyone following a plant-based diet because of its dense amount of protein in a seemingly low calorie, convenient package. However, while some protein bars may seem like a healthy, quick alternative, most protein bars on the market have long ingredient lists which are often loaded with unidentifiable, highly processed, or artificial ingredients. How they’re pressed, which is more often than not with heat, can also be a culprit to slower digestion because of the loss of nutrients due to the process. The Better Bar not only focuses on using the finest ingredients, but raw-pressing our bars so that the natural enzymes let you fully absorb all the nutrients.
So what foods help aid digestion?
Luckily, your digestive system is incredibly innovative and will gladly let you know things aren’t right downstairs through bloating and gas. A healthy plant-based diet can be your gut’s best friend, but there are foods that are especially beneficial for a normal, healthy digestion.
Whole grains provide lots of fiber, as well as added nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids. When gut bacteria ferment fiber, they produce short-chain fatty acids. These molecules encourage proper function in the cells lining the colon, where 70 percent of our immune cells live.
Quinoa is one of the world’s most popular health foods. Naturally gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids.
Berries are a good source of fiber, including soluble fiber. Studies show that consuming soluble fiber slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness.
Goji berries, in particular, exert various biological activities and health benefits, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, immuno-stimulating, anti-diabetic, neuroprotective, anti-cancer, prebiotic, and anti-obesogenic effects.
Seeds contain all the starting materials necessary to develop into complex plants making them extremely nutritious.
Seeds are great sources of fiber. They also contain healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. When consumed as part of a healthy diet, seeds can help reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Specifically, pumpkin seeds are one of the most commonly consumed types of seeds, and are good sources of phosphorus, monounsaturated fats and omega-6 fats.
The Bottom Line
If our digestion is good then we will have stronger bones, lubricated joints and a healthy immune system that can defend us against viruses like the common cold. However, if digestion is hindered and nutrients are not absorbed correctly then it can lead to a build-up of toxins and certain nutritional deficiencies. The whole body will start to suffer as a consequence – we will become more prone to unpleasant digestive symptoms and our immune system will become more vulnerable to infection, our moods more irritable and overall we will feel tired, less energetic and generally unwell. The key takeaway here is your gut is a great indicator of your overall health— if something’s amiss with your digestion, listen to your gut.