The Six Stages of Nutrition – Overview
If you’re like me you’ve heard a thousand times someone say something like, “I eat a healthy diet.”
You might have even said it yourself, it might have even been true!
So I’m going to inform you, with the aid of this article, that eating a “nutritious or healthy diet” is only one part of a bigger whole, a whole that massively contributes to health, fitness and vitality.
What you will come to realise is that just because you eat a “good” diet doesn’t mean you’re getting “good” nutrition. Why?
It’s because diet is what you eat, but nutrition is what you actually get from that diet, then use and get rid of. Hopefully, by the end of the article you might realise that there’s a lot that goes on between putting good food in your mouth and assimilating it!
So what? Well, if you want the best health, you need to pay attention to each of these 6 areas. You want to make sure you’re supporting each stage of nutrition to work efficiently. To cover that, here’s a basic overview of the “Six Stages of Nutrition.” I’ll briefly talk through each stage, how we define it, why it’s important to your health and what you can do to help it work better. One of the best ways to use this information is to realise that you take care of your body, it can take care of you. Let’s have a look at each in brief.
Stage #1 Diet: Diet is everything you eat and drink, not just the food you to eat but also all the liquids and supplements as well. It’s worth remembering the things you can’t see in your foods (food additives, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and other toxins), and the things you would want to see (if they hadn’t already been taken out, like with junk and processed food), plus alcohol and medications. Diet is the stage you want to spend most of your time focusing on improving, as it’s the stage you’ve got most control over (the other stages are under indirect control, whereas diet is under direct control, although the way that most people eat – mindlessly – would make you suspect there’s not much control at all!). You might see the effects of changing the diet aspect of the six stages as having a trickle-down effect, where each subsequent stage is affected by the choices you make in your diet.
Stage #2 Digestion: The process of breaking down foods into nutrients that can be used by the body. When you imbibe foods your body immediately goes to work breaking it down, that takes place in the mouth, the stomach and the intestines. It’s a very effective system, until something goes wrong, and when it does it causes a whole cascade of effects you really don’t want to experience. Fortunately the best way to support your digestion is to eat a good diet; one that contains the right mix of cooked and raw foods and liquids for YOUR body. Under times of stress supplementation with enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements is needed.
Stage #3 Absorption: The process of passing nutrients across the intestinal walls to get to the next stage. This stage is largely controlled by digestion, so focusing on digestion will nearly always improve your absorption. In general, the better your digestion, the better your absorption. Much of the time, supplements are designed to work with both digestion and absorption.
Stage #4 Circulation: The process by which your nutrients are transported around your body, and like any transport system, it can develop blockages, depletions, breakdowns and become ineffective. Fortunately you can do your bit to ensure you don’t get a traffic jam by eating the right diet for you, exercising properly for your needs and paying attention to the indicators of good circulation.
Stage #5 Assimilation: The process by which your cells absorb the nutrients from the blood stream for energy, for repair and for construction. Due to the modern diet, it’s unbalanced ratio and distribution of fats and the unfortunate processing and degradation of food, this stage is frequently a bottleneck to good health. Why? Because even if you have a fantastic supply of nutrients washing round your body, if the cells are closed for trading, or trading ineffectively, you can’t get the best out of those nutrients. One of the secrets to good health is getting your cells working properly, and if you find yourself tired easily, or have low energy, this may be a contributing factor.
Stage #6 Elimination: This is the process of the removal of wastes, toxins and dead cells, which are then excreted from the body. It’s the end of the line. Literally. And, if you don’t think this is important, try sticking a potato in your car’s exhaust pipe and see what happens! You can think of three levels of elimination; 1, from the cells to the bloodstream (or lymph system), 2, from the bloodstream to the organs of waste collection and disposal, 3, from the organs of waste collection and disposal to the outside. Most of the time this system works fine, if all the other parts are working, but sometimes one of the levels of elimination (normally the cells or bowels) needs a bit of assistance.
As you read that above, did you realise that the Six Stages of Nutrition depend on each other?
So, if just one stage loses its function it can cause the whole system to breakdown, or function at less than optimal levels (you experience this as tiredness, stress, disease, illness, injuries or pretty much anything else that you could call a problem). The health of your body as a whole depends on your cells getting the right amounts and types of nutrients, so therefore your cells depend on the Six Stages of Nutrition. You can use this as a map for figuring out where to improve and focus on. Fortunately your body is also incredibly resilient and can go on being treated like trash for quite some time. This doesn’t mean you can forget about treating it nicely, quite the contrary, as if you want the best out of your body, you have to put the best in. A bit like that old saying, ‘garbage in = garbage out’. Let’s learn how to put quality in, so that you get quality out!