A recent survey shows that up to 74 million Americans live with digestive issues like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. And while these may sound like minor if slightly embarrassing issues, these symptoms could be indicative of more serious conditions like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.
But even in the absence of a serious illness, lacking the proper enzymes to break down and digest the food you eat, no matter how nutritious, means that your body is unable to absorb vital nutrients.
Likewise, the excessive consumption of overly-processed, pasteurized, and sterilized food products can disturb the delicate ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut – the part of the body that spans the mouth all the way down to the anus.
Part of the solution involves making changes in your diet and reintroducing enzymes that you’re missing. Taking a safe and natural digestive supplement with each meal can also boost your gut health.
Here are some gut-friendly fruits and supplements that help promote gut health.
An overview of digestive enzymes
The digestive system is responsible for taking the food and liquids you consume and breaking them down into simpler and easily digestible forms like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
These nutrients are transported from the small intestine to the bloodstream where they can be utilized for energy that the body needs to build and repair itself.
Digestive enzymes play a crucial role in the process of digestion, breaking down carbs, protein, and fat into smaller molecules that can be readily absorbed by the body.
Zypan, for instance, supports the digestion of protein in the body and helps maintain gastric pH.
When there aren’t enough digestive enzymes in your system, the body is unable to digest food molecules properly, leading to common digestive issues like gluten sensitivity or lactose intolerance.
There are three kinds of digestive enzymes:
Enzymes are also made in the small intestine include:
Consuming fruits and beverages that contain a significant amount of digestive enzymes can help promote better digestion. The same goes for supplements like Enzycore, which contains a comprehensive blend of digestive enzymes for maximum nutrient absorption.
Food and supplements for better digestion
- Papaya – Papayas contain proteases, specifically papain, that is great for digesting proteins. Studies suggest that supplementing with a papaya-based formula could potentially ease common IBS symptoms like bloating and constipation.
Tip: Eat your papayas ripe and uncooked as high temperatures can destroy digestive enzymes.
- Bananas – Known for their potassium content, bananas also contain amylases and glucosidases. These enzymes break down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars.
A study also found a modest increase in healthy gut bacteria and significantly less bloating among 34 female participants who consumed two bananas each day over a period of two months.
- Mango – This tropical fruit contains amylases, which turns carbs from starch into easy-to-absorb sugars like maltose and glucose. As with bananas, the digestive enzymes in mangoes grow more potent and active as the fruit starts to ripen.
- Avocados – This wonder fruit contains lipase, a digestive enzyme that helps break down fat into glycerol and fatty acids that are easier for your body to absorb.
- Ginger – Ginger has been used in traditional medicine for millennia, and for good reason. It contains zingibain, a protease that breaks down protein in the digestive system.
Moreover, animal studies have shown that ginger helps increase the production of other digestive enzymes like amylases and lipases in the body.
Lastly, ginger and other spices have been shown to help food pass through the stomach faster in both healthy adults and those who suffer from indigestion by promoting contractions.
- Sauerkraut – Though sauerkraut is commonly associated with German and Eastern European cuisine, this distinctively sour fermented cabbage dish is believed to have originated north of China. The fermentation process endows sauerkraut with digestive enzymes that promote proper digestion.
It is also being marketed as a probiotic food containing good gut bacteria that can help strengthen your digestive health and immune system when consumed regularly.
Studies suggest that probiotics can help ease digestive symptoms like bloating, constipation, stomach pain, and diarrhea, not just in healthy adults but also in those who suffer from IBS, ulcerative colitis (UC), and Crohn’s.
Tip: For maximum benefits, choose r unpasteurized or raw over cooked sauerkraut as high temperatures can deactivate or weaken digestive enzymes.
- Kimchi – This spicy dish is something of a national treasure in its home country of South Korea. Traditionally made with napa cabbage and radish seasoned with ginger, garlic, spring onion, and hot pepper flakes, the fermentation process gives kimchi healthy gut bacteria that produce digestive enzymes and nutrients.
Aside from its digestive benefits, kimchi is also known to lower cholesterol and minimize one’s risk of heart disease.
Can’t take the heat? Try supplementing with Multizyme, which contains digestive enzymes that help break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in the body.
- Miso – Made with fermented soybeans, miso is widely used in Japanese-style cooking and contains enzymes like amylases, lactases, lipases, and proteases.
Moreover, studies show that the good bacteria in miso help relieve symptoms commonly associated with digestive issues like irritable bowel disease (IBD).
As with sauerkraut and kimchi, the secret to miso’s superior nutritional quality lies in the fermentation process, which reduces the anti-nutrient content (naturally occurring compounds that hinder nutrient absorption) of soybeans.
Enjoy the benefits of natural digestive enzymes when you consume healthy food and supplement with natural and FDA-approved products. You can message us, WholeBody Solutions, here. You can also contact Dr. Ann Doggett at 617.328.6300 and FrontDesk(at)WholeBodySolutions(dotted)org for concerns regarding digestive health and safe supplementation.