What are digestive enzymes?
Simply put, digestive enzymes break down food into particles your body can absorb and use. They are found throughout the gastrointestinal tract and should be abundant in the stomach. There are 3 primary enzymes that break down food: protease (breaks down proteins), amylase (breaks down carbohydrates), and lipase (breaks down fats). When you are lacking in any of these, your ability to break down food into useable parts is compromised. It can also cause digestive issues.
Why should I care about digestive enzymes?
Gut health is vital to overall health. In fact, it is estimated that 70-80% of your body’s immune cells are found in the gut. Consequently, chronic illnesses are now being linked to unhealthy guts. Obesity, arthritis, depression, allergies, autoimmune diseases, acne, eczema, diabetes, dementia, and chronic fatigue are all being attributed to the toxic environment of our guts (see Leaky Gut Syndrome). Enzyme levels have also been found to be lower in people with many of these problems. So if you are someone that struggles with any of these issues, it is likely that you need more digestive enzymes.
How do I replenish my gut’s digestive enzymes?
There are a few ways you can help restore your gut balance of enzymes. First, eat a variety of raw foods like unrefined extra virgin olive oil, papaya, pineapple, grapes, avocadoes, figs, bananas, and mangos. Cooking foods breaks down the enzymes before they enter your body so be sure to consume these foods raw. (You might also want to try a few raw food recipes like these.) Second, cut back on processed foods that are difficult for your body to digest. And lastly, you can take a digestive enzymes supplement. Be sure it contains the 3 primary enzymes: protease, amylase and lipase.
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