Even if you eat healthy food every day, can you be sure that you’re actually digesting it properly?
Poor digestion is one of the biggest health issues plaguing today’s Americans. When your digestive system isn’t in peak condition, much of the nutrients in your food end up going to waste. This means that even if your diet isn’t lacking, your body might still suffer from nutritional deficiencies and ill health.
Fortunately, there are many ways to support good digestion. Eating food rich in naturally occurring enzymes can help set your digestive system back on the right track!
The Importance of Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes help break down food into something your body can easily absorb, and also help deliver the nutrients to your bloodstream. Just think of them as powerful solvents that dissolve large chunks of food into simple nutrients. Without enzymes, most of your food would just pass through the gastrointestinal tract undigested.
They fulfill a similar role to probiotics such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains. You may have heard before about how there are billions of beneficial microorganisms that live in the human gut; these probiotics work together with digestive enzymes to process food into its base components.
So why is this so important?
Many health problems are caused by an insufficient supply of the nutrients that your body’s systems need to keep running. And as we mentioned earlier, digestive enzymes are essential for getting the most out of your food. Creating new body tissue, generating energy, and cleansing the system from toxins – all of these processes are indirectly affected by your digestive enzymes.
An inefficient digestive system also leads to unpleasant symptoms like bloating, excessive gas, nausea, and abdominal discomfort. If your gut is always giving you problems, then adding digestive enzymes to your diet may help. Taking a Digestive Enzymes supplement is one answer, but there are also foods that are naturally rich in these enzymes.
Good digestion even helps prevent obesity. Since you will be absorbing more nutrients with every meal, you feel fuller and more balanced, so there’s less incentive to overeat. This is something to keep in mind if you’ve been struggling to get in shape.
9 Foods to Add to Your Diet
So what are the best things to eat if you want to give your digestive system a boost? Many raw foods actually contain digestive enzymes. Here are nine great examples; add them to your diet today!
- Papaya – This fruit is one of the best sources of a proteolytic enzyme called papain, which has significant benefits for the digestive process. It is one of the most effective enzymes for breaking down meat and other proteins, so it can work wonders if you have a meat heavy diet. Other troublesome proteins that papain can help with include gluten in wheat and casein in milk – which are both notorious for causing poor digestion.
- Milk Kefir – Kefir helps keep gastrointestinal bacteria in balance. It supports the immune system, fights IBS, and may even improve allergic reactions. This fermented milk product is a great alternative to yogurt if you can’t stand the latter’s thickness and consistency. On a side note, kefir has even been shown to be good for people with lactose intolerance.
- Sauerkraut – Sauerkraut is a traditional German dish made of fermented cabbage. It has a distinct flavor, and is often used as a topping or stuffing to complement other foods. This food contains a huge amount of beneficial digestive enzymes and lactic acid. And it contains so much Vitamin C that ancient sailors relied on it to prevent scurvy. Even better, it is extremely easy to make at home; pretty much all you need is cabbage and salt.
- Kimchi – Like sauerkraut, kimchi is made of fermented vegetables and is known as one of the world’s healthiest foods. So what can you expect from this spicy Korean condiment? It is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins A, B, and C, plus lactobacilli probiotics. This is why eating Kimchi has been shown to improve gut health and regulate cholesterol.
- Yogurt – This cultured dairy product should come as no surprise. Countless health experts sing the praises of yogurt, since it contains probiotics that promote better digestion and immunity. And because it is a dairy product, you can look forward to a generous amount of protein, calcium, vitamins, and potassium in every serving.
- Tempeh – Made of fermented soybeans, Tempeh is a cake-like food that has been becoming more popular in recent years. The firm texture, high protein content, and earthy flavor makes it a fantastic substitute for meat in vegetarian dishes. Both filling and healthy, tempeh is the perfect
- Bananas – Not just an excellent source of potassium, bananas provide a generous amount of amylase and maltase enzymes. These help break down sugars in your food, allowing the easier digestion of carbohydrates. Perfect for people who like bread, potatoes, or cereals with most meals! And if you’re trying to lose weight, bananas are excellent at reducing those pesky sugar cravings that lead to huge binges.
- Pineapples – Have you ever felt a prickly sensation in your mouth while eating pineapple? This is because it contains bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein (so powerful that it is often used as a meat tenderizer). Having adequate levels of bromelain in your body helps fight indigestion, acidity, sinus discomfort, swelling, and heartburn.
- Kiwis – Last but not least, the kiwi fruit (also called the Chinese gooseberry) has great health benefits. It contains an enzyme called actinidain, which similar to papain, helps dissolve proteins. Not just that, kiwi fruits are a good source of dietary fiber, folate, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
By adding these foods to your daily diet, you can give your digestive system some much-needed assistance. Feel more energetic and be healthier than ever by absorbing more nutrients from what you eat!