Enzymes, what are they and how can we make sure we have enough of them?
Enzymes are what our body uses to break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins from our food into smaller pieces until they are small enough to be absorbed into our body.
Different enzymes work on different types of food, for example, Lipase breaks down fats into fatty acids – we need this to digest the fats found in foods like dairy, nuts, eggs and meat.
So, what does it mean for us if we don’t have enough enzymes? Well if we don’t have enough enzymes we can’t break down our food efficiently. It can lead to digestive symptoms and mal-absorption of nutrients from our food which can eventually lead to nutrient deficiencies.
What can you do about it? There are ways you can improve your own production of digestive enzymes, including:
- reducing stress, stress reduces our enzyme production and digestive system function.
- mindful eating, make sure you eat slowly and anticipate your meals to help get digestive juices flowing.
- chewing thoroughly, digestion begins in the mouth.
- reduce foods containing substances that reduce enzymes (enzyme inhibitors) such as peanuts, egg whites, nuts, seeds, potatoes and legumes.
- increase foods rich in natural enzymes such as papaya and pineapple
- taking digestive bitters (a supplement which can help increase your enzyme production).
If you still do not make enough of your own digestive enzymes consider discussing a digestive supplement with your practitioner.