Digestive enzymes are the most necessary compounds to having a good working digestive system. It helps by breaking down the important nutrients for better absorption by the body.
Primarily acting as a catalyst, digestive enzymes speed up specific chemical reactions in the body. These enzymes break down proteins, fats and sugars into small molecules so they can pass through the bloodstream. This boosts your metabolism and helps your body systems to run more efficiently.
- Any digestive issues like Gastric reflux, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis. Even common everyday digestive problems like bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea could be a sign you need some enzymes.
- Age related enzyme deficiency, when we age our stomach acid becomes more alkaline causing loss of stomach acidity. Low acidity and low enzymes creates more gastric reflux.
- Insufficient hydrochloric acid (HCL) or low stomach acid can affect anyone and it lessens the ability of the stomach to break down food molecules.
- People with Liver disease usually also have a concurrent enzyme deficiency. A genetic disease, low alpha -1- antitrypsin, affects one in 1500 people worldwide.
- Iron or B12 deficient or Vitamin D deficient, may be due to the fact that these nutrients are not being processed or broken down adequately due to low enzyme activity.
How to Increase Digestive Enzymes
Check to see if the ones you decide to get include the substances needed to assist food breakdown. This includes: amylase, lipase, bromelain, protease or pancreatin. If they include any probiotic like Lactobacillus it’s even more beneficial.
You can also receive enzymes from eating raw foods. Try eating vegetables and fruits not cooked over 118F, since you lose enzymes if heat is too high.
By eating a diet of about 50% raw daily you can help decrease some of those uncomfortable symptoms of low enzyme activity.
Sprouted seeds, soaked nuts, papaya, pineapple, mango and kiwi have effective amounts of enzymes.
- Chew thoroughly, enzyme activity starts in the mouth with saliva, which starts the breakdown of food. Chewing well, like chew each mouthful 20 times before swallowing, allows food to break into small particles.
I know this sounds really hard and unreasonable…I thought so to when a doctor suggested it! But it makes it easier for your body to finish getting those nutrients out of your food.
- Reduce your Stress especially when you sit to eat your meal. Be relaxed and focus on your food. No arguing at the food table.
- Environmentally make sure you are not exposed to chemicals or pesticides or over the counter anti-acids these all can affect your enzyme activity.
- Food intolerances can negatively affect your body’s ability to produce necessary enzymes.
Without enzymes food would just sit in your gut and slowly rot….imagine that smell!
So, definitely, you want to help your digestion as much as possible to break down your food. Try one of our suggestions and/or tips to help increase digestion and enzymes.
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist, is a Natural Health Consultant helping individuals start health programs to improve their life, wellness and happiness. Cindy is a speaker, writer and entrepreneur of several businesses.