The bioavailability of particular lipids may be either increased or decreased by manipulating the microstructure and/or physiochemical properties of the foods that contain them. This article reviews the current understanding of the molecular, physicochemical, and physiological processes that occur during lipid ingestion, digestion, and absorption, and then discusses some approaches that food scientists may use to control these processes in order to impact the rate or extent of lipid bioavailability. These approaches include controlling the molecular characteristics of the lipid molecules, altering lipid droplet size or interfacial properties, and manipulating food matrix structure and composition. Improved knowledge of the molecular, physicochemical, and physiological processes that occur during lipid ingestion, digestion, and absorption will facilitate the rational design and fabrication of functional foods for improved health and wellness.
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