You’ve perused through NutriLiving and started to work your way through the recipes and informative articles, however you’re noticing a few words that continue to creep up every now and then and you wonder to yourself, ”What the heck does that mean?”
While some of these terms may not be sexy, it’s essential that you understand what they mean if you want to kick your Blast status up a notch.
1. NutriBlast, a.k.a. Blast or Smoothie
It sounds like NutriBullet, so it must be related! A NutriBlast is the smoothie made using your NutriBullet. The fruit, veggie and superfood combo made in your NutriBullet is several steps up from your average blender-made drink. No longer should you hesitate to include ingredients in your smoothies like raw beets, carrots, or the almighty kale. Add them in and watch them get pulverized into a delightful, refreshing, healthful blend of nourishment - it'll be a Blast!
No, this isn't the next conversation starter you want at your backyard barbecue, but what it means and does for your body is actually pretty interesting. When food is chopped into tiny particles, the surface area increases, meaning digestive enzymes have more room to do their job and break them down. The smaller the particle, the greater potential each nutrient has for absorption and the friendlier it is on your digestive system. However, that doesn’t guarantee absorption – several other factors need to be in place, as well.
The term bioaccessible often gets confused with a similar term, bioavailable, which means the nutrients have made their way past the stomach, through the intestines and into the bloodstream, where they're available for cells and tissues to use in their everyday normal function. In reality, only a portion of a nutrient is totally converted during digestion into a potentially absorbable form. The goal is to maximize that potential. This is where the NutriBullet comes in!
How else can you increase your food's bioaccessibility and bioavailability? Maintain a healthy gut flora (yup, we cover that next!), don’t overload on processed sugars, stay hydrated and increase your consumption of whole, plant-based foods.
3. Gut Flora or Microbiome, Prebiotics and Probiotics
Did you know the human body contains trillions of tiny microorganisms, enough to outnumber human cells 10 to 1? And did you know most of them live in your digestive tract? That’s roughly 2 to 6 pounds of bacteria. Every day we discover more information about the vital role that these bacteria play in human health, everything from weight management, immunity, bowel function and digestion, to hormonal balance, nutrient production, and allergies. We are born with a blank slate, then, right after birth, intestine colonization starts and evolves as we grow. The majority of bacteria in our gut are individualized for each person, like a personal identification card.
Since these tiny guys are kind of a big deal, we want to keep them happy. The best way to keep them happy is to make wise food choices, including avoiding sugary, processed foods and stocking up on gut-friendly pre- and probiotics. Prebiotics serve as food for the healthy bacteria, while probiotics are the live organisms themselves. Having more of the “good” bacteria helps maintain a healthy microbiotic balance, integrity and diversity in the digestive tract. Examples of food with probiotics include kimchi, kombucha, miso, yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut.
While the glycemic index (GI) – a rating on how a particular food affects your blood sugar levels – is a good way to get a general idea of how a food fares in the sugar department, other factors also play a role. What types of food you eat, in what combination, where those foods are grown, how they are prepared or processed, and how you specifically metabolize foods all affect the impact these sugars have on your body. The GI is a scale from 0 to 100, with a higher number meaning it will raise your blood sugar higher and faster.
- Low GI <= 55
- Medium GI = 56-69
- High GI => 70
We all know it’s important that we keep our blood sugar levels within a normal range. Over time, uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to blood vessel damage, potentially causing heart, kidney, eye and nerve damage. In addition, eating fiber-rich foods, healthy fats and protein helps slow down absorption of glucose into the blood steam.
We’ve been trained to eliminate foods that contain chemicals from our diet, but these guys are the exception! To put our mind at ease, let’s call them phytonutrients, a term often used interchangeably. “Phyto” is a Greek word meaning “plant,” so essentially this term refers to the special compounds found in plant-based foods. There are over 4,000 phytonutrients identified and studied, however research tends to focus on some of the most common ones, including carotenoids, ellagic acid, flavonoids, resveratrol, glucosinolates and phytoestrogens. Phytonutrients are not essential to sustain life in the same way essential vitamins and minerals are, but they have been shown to provide both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits – two key factors in the prevention of chronic diseases. Regardless of how it’s done, phytonutrients keep your body in tip-top working order.
To get a variety of these beneficial nutrients, make sure to eat a rainbow of food. For example, choose orange carrots for carotenoids, red grapes for resveratrol, blueberries and raspberries for flavonoids, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, garlic and onions for glucosinolates, the sulfur-containing chemicals.
Congratulations, graduate! You are now ready to Blast like the pros. Use this information to fuel your daily food decisions and pack your NutriBullet cup with the foods most beneficial to your body.
Have more nutrition-related questions? Ask the NutriBullet Dietitians and we'll be glad to help!