This post was crafted for National Nutrition Month. Because, as you’ll learn below, there’s more to nutrition than just eating high quality foods.

You are what you eat.

Undoubtedly you’ve heard that old adage. But what about this one…

You are what you eat, digest, absorb, and assimilate.

The shift from “what you eat” to “what you eat, digest, absorb, and assimilate” moves away from basic food quality to emphasize digestion and the metabolic system.

If everything is going ‘right through you,’ for example when you’ve caught a stomach bug, you’re obviously not digesting and utilizing the nutrients in the food. (And that’s fine in the short-term to clear a pathogen out of the system.)

But, what if you have that happening to some degree every single day? A tell-tale sign would be undigested food in your stool. Others might include chronic inflammation or an ever-growing list of food sensitivities.

When you’re not properly digesting, absorbing, and utilizing the food that enters your body, your body starts to miss out on vital nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more that build hair, nails, bones, and collagen in your skin, that support thyroid function, immune health, and energy levels, that repair damaged cells and rebuild tissue.

Digestion's importance to nutritionThe ability to digest food and transform those byproducts into nutrients is paramount to overall health and beauty. You need food to be properly broken down, assimilated, and utilized for nearly every single process in your body.

For example, you need magnesium and potassium for the healthy functioning of your heart. And where can you get those in your diet? Legumes, nuts, leafy vegetables, bananas, avocado, tomatoes and more. But that’s only helpful if your body is actually digesting those foods, absorbing the nutrients out of them, and assimilating the magnesium and potassium.

Of course, your body does most of this automatically every time you eat. Unless you have impaired gut function.

If your gut has been compromised by years of poor eating habits, too many rounds of antibiotics, exposure to toxins or foods that breakdown the gut lining, excess stress, gallbladder removal, suppressed HCL production, eating too fast, or something else, you may not be digesting, absorbing, and assimilating at optimal levels.

There are many ways to start to heal, repair, and rebalance the gut, and a targeted approach would depend on what your main issue is. Therefore, it’s probably best to work with a digestive health expert or licensed practicioner.

If you’re a very DIY person, a few places to start would be: eating slower, taking a high quality probiotic and/or digestive enzymes, or healing and repairing the gut lining (by removing offending foods, supplementing with mucilaginous herbs and bone broth/gelatin, and committing to the basics of good sleep and stress reduction).

Gut health is fundamental to overall health, so take care of your gut for a healthier you.

Leave a comment below answering this question: What do you do regularly to keep you gut healthy and happy?