What are Digestive Enzymes? + 9 Foods With Naturally-Occurring Enzymes for Better Digestion!
What Are Enzymes and What Do They Do?
Enzymes are proteins made from amino acids which speed up chemical reactions in the body, allowing them to occur at a rate necessary for life!
Enzymes are used for essential body functions such as:
digestion + gut health
cell growth + repair
toxin breakdown by the liver
DIGESTIVE enzymes act on the surface particles of the foods we eat, breaking them down into smaller, more easily digestible pieces. This process starts in the mouth (thanks to enzyme-rich saliva) and reduces gastrointestinal upset such as bloating, gas and heartburn.
Digestive enzymes also serve an extremely important purpose to our overall health, as they directly increase the absorbability of the nutrients found in the foods we eat! Without digestive enzymes, many of the nutrients we consume would completely go to waste!
There are 3 main digestive enzymes produced in the body, including:
Amylase (found in salvia): breaks down carbs + starches
Lipase (found in saliva): breaks down lipids (fats + oils)
Protease (found in the stomach): breaks down proteins
Better Digestion For Better Gut Health
A healthy digestive system is dependent on proper nutrient breakdown + absorption (as well as prebiotic & probiotic-rich foods) to promote a HEALTHY GUT. A healthy gut contains optimal levels of "good-gut" bacteria which provide the body with immunity to infections from things such as "bad" bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
In fact, did you know 70% of the immune system lives within your gut?!
Gut status not only affects our immune health, but also our overall health due to the 100 million nerve cells lining our digestive tract. Through these nerves (as well as hormones), the gut actually communicates with the brain, impacting mood and mental health through the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin!
Is it Necessary to Supplement with Digestive Enzymes?
Typically, a healthy individual with no digestive food sensitives or intolerances does not require any form of digestive enzyme supplements.
On the other hand, those who do suffer from specific food sensitivities or intolerances sometimes find their gastrointestinal upset decreased and digestive function increased with the use of digestive enzyme supplementation.
Here are a few things to consider if you feel these supplements may be beneficial for you:
Talk with a Medical, Health, or Nutritional Professional You Trust