Pregnancy is a time of joy and excitement. But while you may be filled with…Read More
Heartburn, bloating, diarrhea, constipation – we can get into a lot of trouble if our digestive system doesn’t function properly.[Common digestive problems and how to treat them].NHS. The process of digestion begins in your mouth where food is mixed with saliva and ground by your teeth. It then travels through your food pipe to your stomach where it’s broken down further before moving into the small intestine and then the large intestine.[Digestive system explained]. Better Health Channel. And while there are medicines that can help improve your digestion, the food that you eat also plays an important role in keeping this system functioning properly.
Ayurveda has always placed a special emphasis on ahara (diet) and anna (food) for promoting health and wellness. This ancient science recognized the importance of wholesome healthy food for nourishing the body, mind, and soul. According to ayurveda, rasa or taste plays a significant role in proper and healthy digestion. In fact, food is classified according to the six tastes of sour (amla), sweet (madhura), salty (lavana), bitter (katu), pungent (tikta), and astringent (kasaya). These tastes are thought to correspond to the six stages of the digestive process.Guha, Amala. “Ayurvedic concept of food and nutrition.” (2006).
Modern science also recognizes that nutrition plays a critical role in keeping us healthy. It’s well known today that the food we eat can have an impact on the digestive system. And that certain foods, like probiotic foods or fiber rich foods can help aid healthy digestion. Different types of vitamins play a role in helping your digestive system function properly. There are 13 essential types of vitamins – Vitamin A, D, E, K, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, B5, B7, and B9.
There are two different types of vitamins:
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of vitamins for digestion:
Vitamin A has a role to play in your oral health and vision. How does that help with healthy digestion? Well, the process of digestion begins in your mouth. A deficiency in vitamin A has been linked to xerostomia (dry mouth), a condition where your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva. Saliva moistens food, helping it pass on through the digestive system. It also contains an enzyme called amylase which breaks down or digests starch. Moreover, it can protect your mouth and teeth against infection as it helps remove food particles from your mouth and also contains antibacterial components.Rathee, Manu & Bhoria, Mohaneesh & Kundu, Renu. (2013). Vitamin A and Oral Health: A Review. Indian Journal of Applied Research. 3. 10.15373/2249555X/OCT2013/109.[Salivary glands].The Encyclopaedia Britannica.
In addition to being important for your oral health, vitamin A also helps your kidneys, lungs, heart, and other organs function properly. It is also necessary for the immune system, normal vision, and reproduction. So, these are great vitamins for digestion.
Green leafy vegetables, squash,meat,fish, carrots, broccoli, mangoes, apricots, cantaloupe, and dairy products are good sources of vitamin A.[Vitamin A].National Institutes of Health.
Vitamin C can enhance the absorption of iron from plant sources (non-heme iron) as well as calcium. Moreover, a severe deficiency of vitamin C leads to scurvy, a disease which can cause bleeding and swelling gums that eventually leads to the loss of teeth. People with scurvy can also experience hair loss, general weakness, anemia and skin hemorrhages.[Scurvy].National Library of Medicine.[Vitamin C].Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.Morcos, S. R., F. A. El-Shobaki, Z. El-Hawary, and N. Saleh. “Effect of vitamin C and carotene on the absorption of calcium from the intestine.” Zeitschrift für Ernährungswissenschaft … Continue reading
In addition to keeping your gums and teeth healthy, vitamin C also helps your immune system function properly, helps protect against heart-diseases and hypertension and helps your body make collagen.
You can get vitamin C from citrus fruits (for example, oranges), strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes,,grapefruit, spinach, green-peas, kiwifruit, green and red pepper etc.[Vitamin C].National Institutes of Health.
Vitamin D is another vitamin that impacts your digestive system because it has an important role to play in your oral health. It helps your body absorb calcium. And calcium along with phosphorus forms tooth enamel. Vitamin D also helps repair and protect infected teeth. No wonder then that research has found that vitamin D deficiency is linked to a higher risk for cavities.[Does Vitamin D Influence Your Dental Health?]. Verywell Health.Chhonkar, Anchal, Anil Gupta, and Vishal Arya. “Comparison of vitamin D level of children with severe early childhood caries and children with no caries.” International journal of … Continue reading
In addition to its impact on your oral health, vitamin D also has other important functions. Along with calcium it helps keep your bones strong. It also helps your muscles, nerves, and immune system function properly.
Fatty fish (such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and tuna),cow-milk are good sources of vitamin D. Eggs yolks, cheese, beef liver, and mushrooms will also give you this important vitamin. Our bodies also make vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight. However, do keep in mind that overexposure to sunlight can be harmful and can cause skin cancer. Experts recommend using a sunscreen if you’re going to spend more than a few minutes out in the Sun.[Vitamin D].National Institutes of Health.}}
Research indicates that B vitamins play a role in maintaining bacteria in our gut. Now, normally we think of bacteria as harmful germs that cause disease. But most of the bacteria present in our gut are actually helpful. They can:
And B vitamins can support the fitness and survival of certain bacterium, act as nutrients for helpful gut bacteria, and suppress pathogenic bacteria.Uebanso, Takashi, Takaaki Shimohata, Kazuaki Mawatari, and Akira Takahashi. “Functional Roles of B‐Vitamins in the Gut and Gut Microbiome.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 64, … Continue reading
In addition to helping your digestive system function properly, niacin also helps in the functioning of your nerves and skin. This vitamin helps convert fats, carbs, and proteins into energy too.[Niacin].National Institutes of Health. So, these are excellent vitamins for digestion.
Here’s a rundown on foods that contain B vitamins for digestion:
1. Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): is found in peas, legumes, wheat germ, pork, beef, egg, bluefin tuna, trout, seeds, nuts, etc. This is one of the important types of vitamins that helps convert carbs into energy and also helps your body contract muscles and conduct nerve signals.[Thiamin].National Library of Medicine.
2. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): is found in eggs, dairy products, lean meats, green leafy vegetables, milk, legumes, nuts, etc. This important nutrient helps release energy from proteins and is important for the production of red blood cells and growth.[Riboflavin]. National Library of Medicine.
3. Vitamin B3 (Niacin): is present in chicken, turkey, salmon, beef liver, brown rice, peanuts, lentils, banana, potato etc. This vitamin is particularly important for keeping your digestive system functioning properly. A severe deficiency of niacin causes a disease called pellagra which may make your tongue appear bright red and lead to changes in your digestive system that may cause diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting. Pellagra can also cause symptoms like a pigmented rash, depression, headache, loss of memory, fatigue, visual, and auditory hallucinations, suicidal behaviors etc.
4. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): is found in bananas, salmon, tuna, legumes, pork, beef, nuts, whole grains, poultry, etc. This vitamin helps us breakdown proteins and make hemoglobin and antibodies. It also helps to maintain blood sugar levels as well as normal nerve function.[Vitamin B6].National Library of Medicine.
5. Vitamin B12: is found in meat, fish, milk, poultry, eggs, etc. This nutrient plays a role in protein metabolism and also helps form red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system.[Vitamin B12].National Library of Medicine.
6. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): is found in poultry, milk, eggs, beef, potatoes, broccoli, avocados, mushrooms, brown rice, oats, whole wheat, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, peanuts, etc. This vitamin helps convert food into energy. It also helps break down fats.[Pantothenic Acid]. National Institutes of Health.
7. Vitamin B7 (Biotin): is present in spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, fish, eggs, meat, nuts, seeds etc. This nutrient helps convert proteins, fats, and carbs into energy.[Biotin].National Institutes of Health.
8. Vitamin B9 (Folate or folic acid): is present in brussels sprouts, asparagus, green leafy vegetables (for example, spinach, mustard greens), oranges, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, peanuts etc. This B-vitamin is required to make DNA and for cell division. It’s a particularly important nutrient for pregnant women and folic acid supplements are often recommended for women who are planning to get pregnant.[Folate].National Institutes of Health.[Is There Really Any Benefit to Multivitamins?].John Hopkins Medicine.
There is some evidence that vitamin K and vitamin E can aid healthy digestion. Vitamin K is thought to improve salivary buffering (that is, it helps saliva counteract acids that attack your teeth) while vitamin E may promote a favorable gut microbiome profile. However, more research is needed to clearly understand whether they truly have a beneficial impact on your digestive system. Southward, Ken. “A hypothetical role for vitamin K2 in the endocrine and exocrine aspects of dental caries.” Medical hypotheses 84, no. 3 (2015): 276-280.Pham, Van T., Susanne Dold, Ateequr Rehman, Julia K. Bird, and Robert E. Steinert. “Vitamins, the gut microbiome and gastrointestinal health in humans.” Nutrition Research 95 (2021): … Continue reading
|↑1||[Common digestive problems and how to treat them].NHS.|
|↑2||[Digestive system explained]. Better Health Channel.|
|↑3||Guha, Amala. “Ayurvedic concept of food and nutrition.” (2006).|
|↑4||[Vitamins].National Library of Medicine.|
|↑5||Rathee, Manu & Bhoria, Mohaneesh & Kundu, Renu. (2013). Vitamin A and Oral Health: A Review. Indian Journal of Applied Research. 3. 10.15373/2249555X/OCT2013/109.|
|↑6||[Salivary glands].The Encyclopaedia Britannica.|
|↑7||[Vitamin A].National Institutes of Health.|
|↑8||[Scurvy].National Library of Medicine.|
|↑9||[Vitamin C].Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.|
|↑10||Morcos, S. R., F. A. El-Shobaki, Z. El-Hawary, and N. Saleh. “Effect of vitamin C and carotene on the absorption of calcium from the intestine.” Zeitschrift für Ernährungswissenschaft 15, no. 4 (1976): 387-390.|
|↑11||[Vitamin C].National Institutes of Health.|
|↑12||[Does Vitamin D Influence Your Dental Health?]. Verywell Health.|
|↑13||Chhonkar, Anchal, Anil Gupta, and Vishal Arya. “Comparison of vitamin D level of children with severe early childhood caries and children with no caries.” International journal of clinical pediatric dentistry 11, no. 3 (2018): 199.|
|↑14||[Mayo Clinic Minute: What is the ‘microbiome,’ and how does it affect your weight?].Mayo Clinic.|
|↑15||[The Microbiome]. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.|
|↑16||Uebanso, Takashi, Takaaki Shimohata, Kazuaki Mawatari, and Akira Takahashi. “Functional Roles of B‐Vitamins in the Gut and Gut Microbiome.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 64, no. 18 (2020): 2000426.|
|↑17||[Niacin].National Institutes of Health.|
|↑18||[Thiamin].National Library of Medicine.|
|↑19||[Riboflavin]. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑20||[Vitamin B6].National Library of Medicine.|
|↑21||[Vitamin B12].National Library of Medicine.|
|↑22||[Pantothenic Acid]. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑23||[Biotin].National Institutes of Health.|
|↑24||[Folate].National Institutes of Health.|
|↑25||[Is There Really Any Benefit to Multivitamins?].John Hopkins Medicine.|
|↑26||Southward, Ken. “A hypothetical role for vitamin K2 in the endocrine and exocrine aspects of dental caries.” Medical hypotheses 84, no. 3 (2015): 276-280.|
|↑27||Pham, Van T., Susanne Dold, Ateequr Rehman, Julia K. Bird, and Robert E. Steinert. “Vitamins, the gut microbiome and gastrointestinal health in humans.” Nutrition Research 95 (2021): 35-53.|
|↑28||Weisshof, Roni, and Irit Chermesh. “Micronutrient deficiencies in inflammatory bowel disease.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care 18, no. 6 (2015): 576-581.|
|↑29||[Dietary supplements: Do they help or hurt?].Harvard Health Publication.|
We are a team of food scientists and Ayurveda experts at Kapiva. Our mission is to raise awareness and educate people on ancient principles and herbs found in traditional texts. We work together to develop the most comprehensive content on Ayurveda which is grounded in peer-reviewed, scientific research.
We’ve all experienced indigestion. And it can cause a lot of discomfort - from feeling…Read More
Most of us have faced a situation where we have visited a doctor for some…Read More
Digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and heartburn are very common nowadays. Stress and improper…Read More