What are digestive enzymes? They are proteins that occur naturally in the body. They can help boost your body’s natural chemical reactions. These chemical reactions are important when it comes to natural digestion. Digestive enzymes help break down the food you eat.
They typically break foods down into small enough pieces so that the bloodstream can carry them around the body. There are several natural foods in which you can find digestive enzymes. In fact, it’s entirely possible to have a diet that helps bring a solid number of digestive enzymes to the body through fruits and veggies. With the right digestion, your body will be able to capitalize on good nutrients necessary to stay health.
Defining Digestive Enzymes
These proteins help ensure that your food is small enough to be properly distributed around your body. They are naturally occurring within the body.
Several different organs in your body are consistently creating these enzymes. Salivary glands, the small intestine, the liver, pancreas, and stomach are some of the most notable organs in which digestive enzymes are produced.
Enzymes aren’t always active in our foods, even if we’re eating foods that could or should be enzyme-rich.
Though it’s true that eating raw veggies and fruits can bring enzymes to our bodies, the enzymes can be rendered inactive by freezing or cooking food.
Once the temperature of our food goes above 140 degrees, the enzymes in then become inactive.
It should be noted that there are ways to supplement our digestive enzyme count other than raw foods.
If you’re the kind of person who isn’t producing enough of these enzymes, of if you’d simply like to supplement your enzymes, if might be a good idea to look into supplements. These supplements may be made from animals, microbes, or plants.
Enzymes At Work
Digestive enzymes are classified as protein catalysts. That means that they help speed up chemical reactions inside your body.
Every chemical reaction that happens inside you is due to enzymes – and digestion is just one of these all-important chemical reactions.
Enzymes are able to create chemical reactions without being destroyed. The more enzymes you have, the quicker a chemical reaction will happen. With a greater number of digestive enzymes, your rate of digestion may be faster.
Digestive Enzymes In Your Diet
There are many digestive enzymes that exist on the market. As such, it’s necessary to think about the ways in which your currently existing diet may help in increasing the amount of enzymes in your body.
Many different kinds of foods can help raise the level of enzymes in your body. A balanced diet with many fruits and vegetables (raw fruits and vegetables, in particular) may help increase the number of digestive enzymes you have overall.
Types Of Digestive Enzyme
Digestive enzymes can be typically split up into three different groups. These three groups include:
These specific types of digestive enzyme help break down proteins in particular.
These specific types of digestive enzyme help break down fat.
These specific types of digestive enzyme help break down carbs.
Each kind of digestive enzyme is important in its own right.
They break down the fats, proteins, and carbs that we eat into much smaller molecules that can be more easily absorbed into our bloodstream.
Something to note is that this goes for both healthy foods and unhealthy foods.
Without enough digestive enzymes, the food that you eat won’t be properly digested.
The Importance Of Digestive Enzymes
Though there are many reasons that digestive enzymes are important to overall health, the number one reason is gut health.
Making sure that your gut is healthy is incredibly important for the proper digestion of your food. Your digestion then leads to the support and health of other bodily systems, therefore supporting your weight loss.
Your Gut Biome Affects Everything
Without a healthy gut, your body may more easily be prone to health issues or certain diseases.
Even when it seems like your health issues are unrelated to digestion, they may be part of a reaction that’s caused by poor digestion and bad gut health.
If you have a healthy gut biome, your body will be positively impacted both when it comes to digestion and when it comes to the support of other bodily systems. You’ll be less likely to get sick, and will feel more energized overall.
Positive Impact Of Digestive Enzymes
Studies show that digestive enzymes are incredibly important to both the health of your digestive system and your overall bodily health.
They can impact several health issues. Though the majority of issues that may be impacted are digestive in nature, there are many more conditions that might be helped with digestive enzymes.
Such conditions as diarrhea, PMS and even autoimmune issues may be positively affected with good digestion.
14 Food With Natural Digestive Enzymes
While there are many different foods that have digestive enzymes within them, there are several that are considered to be the best sources of digestive enzymes.
Ginger is a popular addition to everyday cooking – and has been for thousands of years. It is considered medicinal, and is a great way to add flavor to many dishes.
Additionally, it has several impressive health benefits. These benefits might just be caused by the amount of digestive enzymes within it.
If you’ve ever wondered why drinking ginger ale or ginger tea is a common remedy for stomach aches, the digestive enzymes within ginger just might be why.
Studies have shown that ginger can help food move through the stomach faster than regular. Additionally, this particular food can help with vomiting and nausea.
This edible berry is often used to help with digestion. It contains several digestive enzymes – in particular actinidain, a protease that can help with the digestion of proteins.
It’s thought that kiwi can help digest soy, gluten, and beef products thanks to the actinidain within it. If you’re someone who has a heavily meat-based diet, kiwi may be very useful in helping your body digest your proteins.
This popular seasoning is created by the fermentation of koi (a fungus), salt and soybeans.
Miso has several digestive enzymes, encompassing all three of the digestive enzyme groups.
For this reason, this particular seasoning is a great way to diversify the amount of digestive enzymes in your diet.
The fermentation process helps improve the nutrition of miso, as it reduces the amount of antinutrients (or compounds that may prevent nutrient absorption in the body) in foods.
This particular food is made from fermented vegetables, and is typically found as a spicy side dish in Korean cuisine.
Again, fermentation helps add healthy bacteria to this food. Kimchi’s healthy bacteria helps bring nutrients and enzymes to the body.
The type of bacteria found in kimchi is classified as bacillus. This type of bacteria helps create amylases, lipase, and proteases, making this food another great all-around enzyme creator, as these enzymes will digest carbs, fats and proteins.
Other health benefits of kimchi may involve cardiovascular health support.
This food is a fermented cabbage. Its distinct sourness makes it somewhat of an acquired taste for some people.
Again, fermentation is key in the addition of nutrients and digestive enzymes. This food is also a “probiotic food”. It helps bring healthy bacteria to your gut, which can support your overall digestive health.
Something to note: it’s important to eat the raw or unpasteurized version of sauerkraut. Though you might find it cooked, the high temperatures that occur during cooking can render the enzymes inactive.
This is not a food, but is rather a fermented milk. This beverage is created by adding grains of kefir – otherwise known as cultures of lactic acid bacteria, acetic acid bacteria, and yeast – to milk.
The process of fermentation causes bacteria to digest the sugars that naturally occur in the milk. This process converts the sugars into carbon dioxide and organic acids, which helps both grown bacteria and add nutrients and enzymes to the beverage.
As with several of the aforementioned foods, kefir includes several kinds of digestive enzyme. It also includes lactase, which helps digest lactose. Therefore, studies have shown that kefir may improve the digestion of lactose in those who suffer from lactose intolerance.
This particular fruit is both low in sugar and high unhealthy fats. Avocados have the digestive enzyme called lipase.
This particular digestive enzyme helps make fat molecules smaller, and therefore easier for your body to absorb into the bloodstream.
Lipase is also created in the pancreas. Therefore, it’s not necessary to get it simply from your diet. However, this particular enzyme can help ease your digestion, particularly if you’ve eaten a meal that is high in fats.
Other enzymes found in avocados include polyphenol oxidase.
Bananas are yet another fruit with natural digestive enzymes.
Both amylases and glucosidases can be found in this particular fruit.
These two enzyme groups can help break down the complex carbs in your diet into more easily absorbed sizes. These enzymes are a large part of the reason why bananas become sweeter as they ripen.
Additionally, bananas are a solid source of dietary fiber. This dietary fiber (prebiotics) is both great for the promotion of health probiotics in the gut and can help aid in digestive health. It’s also thought that bananas may help reduce bloating.
Honey has several great compounds – digestive enzymes are just one of them!
Many kinds of digestive enzyme are found in honey. Diastases, amylases, inverses, and proteases are often found in raw honey.
As with so many of the foods that contain digestive enzymes, it’s important that your honey is raw. If the honey is processed, it is often heated to a temperature that can render the digestive enzymes useless.
Mangoes are yet another fruit that is high in digestive enzyme content.
These fruits contain amylase, which help break down carbs from starch which are otherwise too complex for the body to absorb.
This enzyme becomes more active as the fruit becomes more ripe. Mangoes, therefore, get sweeter the more ripe they are.
Papayas help digest proteins. They also contain a group of proteases called papain.
This is typically used as a meat tenderizer, and is also used as a digestive supplement.
Some studies have revealed that papaya may help ease the symptoms of IBS.
This group of proteases help break down protein into amino acids and other protein building blocks.
This helps both digest and absorb the proteins. This particular digestive enzyme is often sold in a powdered supplement to tenderize meats.
Additionally, it’s often recommended for those who struggle with the digestion of protein.
As with kefir, yogurt contains lactic acid. This particular bacteria helps produce lactase.
This enzyme may help break down lactose, and can be useful for those who have a lactose intolerance.
Made via the fermentation of water, salt, yeast, wheat and soybeans.
The fermentation process helps bring enzymes to the body that can help with the break down of both carbs and proteins.
There are many naturally occurring enzymes in several different kinds of foods. From condiments to fruits, you can definitely add these foods to your diet in order to bring more digestive enzymes to your bodies.
The three main groups of enzymes (proteases, lipase and amylases) each help your body digest a different compound – whether that be proteins, carbs, or fats. By maintaining a healthy diet with many of the aforementioned foods, it’s totally possible to have a healthy amount of digestive enzymes in your body.
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