The more I read up on nutrition, it’s clear that the phrase “you are what you eat” is old school. The truth is you are what you absorb. There’s a concept called bioavailability: it’s the percent of a nutrient that you eat, compared to how much of that nutrient your body actually absorbs. Here’s an example. A lot of beauty supplements that claim to improve your hair, skin and nails are becoming more and more popular. One company I researched sells strawberry gummies that claim to have 2,500 micrograms of the coenzyme Biotin, which helps keep your hair healthy, in each serving. That’s 833% of your daily recommended value of Biotin. However, just because you take take the serving size (two strawberry gummies), doesn’t mean you’re body is going to absorb and use all 2,500 micrograms of Biotin.
When a nutrient is has high bioavailability you can digest and absorb a lot of its nutrients. There are ways to get even more vitamins and minerals out of foods (check out the Science Direct article below). If you incorporate a wide variety of healthy foods into your diet, you probably don’t have to worry about the nutrient bioavailability of what you’re eating. Eating ripe, seasonal foods will have more bioavailability than those that were picked early and shipped halfway around the world. Cooking foods that you recognize, that don’t have a barcode, will have more bioavailability than those that do. Real food equals better bioavailability.