No one doubts the importance of diet for health. We know it is essential to avoid processed foods and opt for natural ingredients, such as foods with digestive enzymes. Although the body also produces them, it is always good to find a way to help the digestive system with a nutrition plan.
These natural catalysts provide numerous benefits to the body, and in the following lines, we will discover where they can be obtained naturally.
When we eat, the digestive system, especially the stomach and intestines, goes to work extracting proteins, vitamins, fats and carbohydrates from food. These nutrients enter the bloodstream and are used by the body for energy, growth and repair.
But none of this could happen without digestive enzymes. The three main types are:
– Protease extracts proteins from food and converts them into small amino acids and peptides for building and repair.
– Amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars for energy.
– Lipase, which breaks down fats into fatty acids.
Some other common enzymes produced in the small intestine, such as lactase, maltase and sucrase, are responsible for breaking down different types of sugar. Lactase breaks down sugar found in dairy products. Maltase breaks down maltose, sugars in malted sugars. Sucrase breaks down sucrose, which comes from sugar cane or beet syrup.
What are the foods with digestive enzymes?
Many of your favourite fruits top the list of foods with digestive enzymes. You can eat them plain, with yoghurt and oatmeal, or in vitamin-packed smoothies. Some of these foods are:
1. Ginger. The enzyme it contains is a protease which breaks down proteins in the food you eat. Eating or drinking foods with ginger promotes contractions in the muscles that line the digestive organs. The root is also good for hair, skin and nails.
Mango. Mangoes help break down carbohydrates into glucose and maltose with the digestive enzyme amylase. Mango enzyme activity increases as the mango ripens. This also explains why the fruit becomes sweeter with age: the enzymes break down the starches in the fruit into sugars.
3. Honey. As far as enzymes are concerned, honey is a superfood because it contains amylase, protease, diastase and invertase. Diastase breaks down starches into digestible maltose. Invertase breaks down sucrose into glucose and fructose, easy sources of energy. Raw honey is best consumed raw.
4. Pineapple. This exotic fruit contains bromelain, a protease. Eating pineapple along with protein-rich foods aids the digestion of food.
5. Kefir. This is a fermented milk drink that is thick and creamy. While studies suggest it may provide various health benefits, kefir is primarily sought after for its gut health benefits, including probiotics and digestive enzymes. In kefir, digestive enzymes such as lipase, lactase and protease are created when bacteria grow in the drink. As the bacteria grow and multiply, the amount of nutrients and enzymes also increases.
6. Papaya. Like pineapple, tropical papaya is also a good source of protease. This enzyme breaks down proteins into amino acids and peptides that your body can use more easily. But it is not the only digestive enzyme in this fruit. Papaya also contains papain, which breaks down proteins into amino acids.
7. Bananas. When we talk about the most delicious foods with digestive enzymes, we quickly think of them and bananas. Not only do they ensure an extraordinary supply of potassium, but they also include a good dose of these catalysts, namely amylases and glucosidases. Both enzymes break down the carbohydrates in the food you eat and convert them into simple sugars that can be more easily absorbed by the body. You can see how these enzymes work when green, unripe bananas become sweeter as they age; that’s the action of the enzymes. Bananas have many health benefits and are always in season, making it easy to include this fruit in your diet.
8. Avocado. This breakfast staple is a good source of the digestive enzyme lipase. Lipase helps to break down fat in food into molecules that are easier for the digestive system to absorb. Avocados are also known to help prevent the uncomfortable feeling of being too full after a meal.
Benefits of eating foods with digestive enzymes
The benefits of consuming foods with digestive enzymes are obvious, both at the digestive system level, which sees its function optimised and remains healthier, and in terms of the body’s overall well-being, which avoids inflammation and stress at the organ level, imbalance and bloating.
The ability to break down the components of the food we eat is a key benefit that should lead us to seek ways to incorporate those foods with digestive enzymes into our diet. In addition, it is advisable to eliminate highly processed fatty foods from the diet, especially fried foods.