Many of us struggle daily with weight gain, fatigue and overall vitality. What if we were to tell you that no fancy diets are necessary in order to feel better? Eating great food can improve your digestion and overall health almost immediately. Great digestion=great life. Let’s break this down a little more.
Your digestive health is crucial for the well-being of your body. Your stomach and abdomen connect to your brain health which in turn connects to your whole health. Having deficient gut health is like having poor health. If you take care of your digestive system, you will feel great and help avoid health complications, pain and discomfort.
Your body needs enzymes to not only break down the food you eat but to also allow it to be thoroughly absorbed through the small intestine, enter the bloodstream, and nourish all your cells, tissues and organs.
Enzymes are critical to your health as they enable your body to cut down food components into usable and nourishing nutrients.
Eating foods that are rich in digestives enzymes improves digestion in the body by helping with microbial balance inside your intestinal tract.
Here are the three top types of foods extremely rich in natural digestive enzymes, and thus extremely great for your health.
1. Honey and Bee Pollen
Honey - an outstanding source of digestive enzymes, which help break down proteins (proteases), carbohydrates (amylase), sugars (sucrose), helping digestion. It can seem weird that such a sweet food product can break down sugar. Raw honey actually decomposes sucrose into pure glucose , which the body then uses as an excellent source of energy. Bee honey also supports the immune system as it contains beneficial antioxidants.
Bee pollen - a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax and bee secretions. Scientists have discovered that bee pollen is loaded with nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, lipids and over 250 active substances including proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. The nutrient composition depends on the plant source and collection season. Studies have shown that bee pollen may increase the absorption of iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It also helps in speeding up metabolism and promoting longevity.
2. Raw Fruit
Many raw fruits contain digestive enzymes that contribute to the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and sugars.
Below are fruits richest in digestive enzymes; we like to call them… super fruits :)
Pineapple – a delicious tropical fruit, a pineapple has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains cysteine proteinases enzymes which help the body easily process food. This type of enzyme also helps the blood coagulate and reduces the chances of cancer.
Avocado - provides healthy fats as well as lipase which helps break down unhealthy fats. The enzymes present in avocados can reduce the discomfort of indigestion and reduce harmful inflammation symptoms..
Banana –rich in potassium, which helps tremendously with digestion problems. Amylase and maltase are two enzymes present in bananas, enabling your digestive system to process foods. These enzymes break down starch into sugars, which are then converted to energy. Grab a banana post your workout and it will fuel your body with much needed energy.
Kiwifruit – excellent for digestion, reduces bloating and can help you with constipation. Oh, and it’s delicious.
Mango - contains a digestive enzyme called amylases. This enzyme breaks down carbs from starch into sugars like glucose and maltose. Amylase enzymes are also made by the pancreas and salivary glands.
Papaya - contains proteolytic enzymes and papain. Both help ensure a healthy and adequate functioning digestive system. They are considered to be effective in digesting meat and other proteins which can be difficult for the body to process. Papaya has anti-inflammatory properties and its seeds are as healthy as the fruit. Eat papayas uncooked, as heat exposure can destroy their digestive enzymes.
Ginger – has been a part of cooking and traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Some of ginger’s extraordinary health benefits may be attributed to its digestive enzymes. It contains the protease called zingibain, which digests proteins into their building blocks. Studies have shown that ginger helps food move faster through the stomach by promoting contractions. It also contributes to the body's production of digestive enzymes like amylases and lipases. What ups the cool factor is that ginger also treats nausea and vomiting. Happy Belly=Happy Life
3. Fermented Foods
Fermented vegetables are known for containing natural live enzymes, making them a great addition to any diet. Here is a list of fermented foods that will for sure turn your belly’s frown upside down.
Sauerkraut – a fermented cabbage, it has a distinct sour taste, and is one of the best-fermented vegetables. Sauerkraut is considered a pro-biotic food, as it also contains healthy gut bacteria that increases your digestive health and immunity. Avoid pasteurized sauerkraut as it reduces the level of helpful enzymes.
Soy sauce – is helpful in the digestion of proteins and carbohydrates. It is made from fermented soybeans, water, salt, yeast, and wheat, and is best without artificial colors. Soy sauce is a great part of the sushi eating experience and being a digestive enzyme powerhouse, now you can feel even better about consuming all the sushi you like.
Kefir –made from milk along with fermented enzymes and yeast, kefir is healthy for digestion and is extremely gut-friendly. Kefir contains many digestive enzymes, including lipase, proteases, and lactase. Studies have shown that the kefir even improves lactose digestion in people with lactose intolerance.
Kimchi - a spicy Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables, it contains bacteria from the Bacillus species, which produce proteases, lipases, and amylases. These enzymes digest proteins, fats, and carbs. Kimchi is also effective at lowering cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors.
Miso - a popular seasoning in Japanese cuisine. It’s made from fermented soybeans with salt and koji, a type of fungus. Koji provides a variety of digestive enzymes, including lactase, lipases, proteases, and amylases. This is just one reason why miso may improve your ability to digest and absorb foods. Studies have shown that the bacteria in miso can even reduce symptoms related to irritable bowel disease (IBD).
Learn more about enzymes.