The holidays are upon us. With the holidays come plenty of seasonal activities, regardless of how you celebrate.
There is ice skating, holiday trees, decorating your home and countless other things to do.
But is one of your favorite things about this season the food?
You might have dinner with your family around a big table, with meat and vegetables and tons of sides. There could be lots of meals out at restaurants with friends that you want to attend.
There is one big thing you could be worrying about during all of this, though: your digestive system.
Maybe those foods you eat never seem to sit right with you. Why is that?
A lot of what it comes down to is digestive enzymes, which you may have never even heard of before. That’s okay! This is why we are here.
In a nutshell, your digestive enzymes are what help your stomach to break down the food you eat. The problem, though, is that you might not be producing enough stomach enzymes to deal with that food. In simpler terms, that food is “not agreeing with you.”
It goes a lot deeper, however.
So let’s talk about what digestive enzymes are, the best natural food enzymes for your body and potential enzyme supplements that you could take if you are struggling with these problems.
What Are Digestive Enzymes?
Digestive enzymes are proteins that your body needs to speed up certain chemical reactions. These chemical reactions are the ones that turn the nutrients you get from your food into ones that your digestive tract can properly absorb.
There are three different kinds of enzymes. And each one works to break down different kinds of nutrients.
These are the three main types of digestive enzymes, and what nutrients each of them targets:
- Proteases (these take care of the proteins you consume)
- Lipases (these are responsible for the fats you eat)
- Amylases (these are in charge of the carbs and starches you put into your body)
Later still, we will get into what parts of your body produce digestive enzymes, the efficacy of enzyme pills and why you might have a digestive enzyme deficiency. But first, we have to talk about the best digestive enzymes you can get from natural food sources.
Common Natural Sources of Digestive Enzymes
It is true: you can get digestive enzymes from digestive enzyme supplements.
First, though, you should always consider the food sources from which you can get digestive enzymes. When people talk about your “gut health,” which you may have heard a lot about lately, these are some of the foods they might bring up to encourage that gut health.
Here are six of the common digestive enzymes you can find in some of your favorite foods. With each, you will also find some recipe suggestions for them.
The tropical flavor of pineapple might remind you of your last summer vacation, or your favorite mixed slushy drink.
Either way, there is hardly any room to argue that this is a delicious fruit. But more than that, pineapple contains bromelain, which are proteases. As you might recall, proteases break down the proteins you eat. And bromelain is especially helpful with breaking down proteins into amino acids.
If pineapple is not up your alley, you can find bromelain in the form of supplements that you might find in Amazon digestive enzymes or the like.
There is also a powder form of bromelain that you can use to tenderize meats.
But if you are anything like us, and pineapple is right up your alley, we have some recommendations for a great pineapple meal or snack.
First, you can always throw some pineapple spears on the grill for a delicious summertime barbecue snack. These are great by themselves as a snack, or as a side with a full meal.
Or, are you a meat eater?
If so, consider adding some pineapple to chicken kabobs and grilling that up for a lean, delicious lunch.
Honey is not only a beautiful amber color with a delicious, thick consistency and sweet taste. Believe it or not, this sugary-tasting treat is also loaded with digestive enzymes, among other nutrient-rich properties.
Raw honey is your best bet for getting all the digestive enzymes possible with the liquid.
Here are the enzymes that you will find in honey:
- Diastases (these break starch down into maltose)
- Amylases (these break starch down into sugars such as glucose and maltose)
- Invertases (these break a sort of sugar called sucrose down into glucose and fructose)
- Proteases (which, again, break down proteins into amino acids)
Again, though, you want to be sure you are using raw honey to get the full effects. The heat that honey goes through to become processed honey can eliminate all the enzymes that would otherwise benefit your health.
We have two recipe ideas for you to spark some creativity in the kitchen.
First, you can use honey to glaze your brussels sprouts. Combine honey with chipotle-in-adobo, soy sauce and lime juice. Then let your brussels sprouts marinate in the glaze before baking them to a crisp.
You can also add honey to different condiments for a unique, sweet-and-savory sauce. For example, consider making mayonnaise with ketchup, honey and sriracha sauce. This will leave you with a great kick to your burgers and hot dogs (vegan or otherwise!) or to elevate your sandwiches.
You either like bananas or you don’t. But the fact remains that bananas have endless health benefits.
The digestive enzymes in bananas include amylases and glucosidases. Both these enzymes will turn the complex carbs you eat into sugars that your body can process with more ease.
Like we briefly mentioned, bananas also do more than just benefit your digestive system. They have plenty of potassium and fiber, too. A banana of medium size (approximately 118 grams) will provide you with 3.1 grams of fiber.
Bananas also have great digestive enzymes for bloating, if that is something you struggle with.
Like we said, we understand that you either love or you hate bananas. But even some people who struggle with their texture will love some of the banana-based recipes we have for you here.
Let’s talk about breakfast!
Banana protein pancakes are one of the yummiest ways to start your morning routine. All you need is:
- Vanilla protein powder (40 grams)
- A large and ripe banana
- Cinnamon (⅛ teaspoon)
- Baking powder (¼ teaspoon)
- Salt (Also ¼ teaspoon)
- Two large eggs (separated)
Beat your egg whites, then combine all the ingredients (including the egg yolks). Make your pancakes and enjoy!
You could also always go for a classic, like banana bread (which goes great with a morning sunrise). Or, add a banana to your morning smoothie.
The idea of kimchi might scare people away. But after most people try it, they fall in love with the taste and texture.
Which they should, considering how great kimchi is for your digestion.
When kimchi goes through its fermentation process, it becomes full of healthy bacteria for your gut health. With this natural source, you get proteases, lipases and amylases. So in essence, it aids you in digesting proteins, fats and carbs.
Plus, kimchi could help you to lower your cholesterol and limit some other heart disease risk factors.
There are plenty of elaborate recipes you could cook up with kimchi as the centerpiece, but you can also keep it simple.
Kimchi on a bed of rice is a quick, easy and delicious way to help your body produce digestive enzymes.
You would be hard pressed to find someone who dislikes mangoes just for their taste. After all, they are delicious. But they are also great for you.
Mangoes contain amylases to break down your carbs into glucose and maltose, or other sugars.
Amylase also strengthens as your mango becomes more ripe, making it sweeter in the process.
You can always just have a mango with your lunch, but there are plenty of other ways to kick up your mango recipes a notch.
First, think about making a mango habanero salsa to add to sandwiches or other dishes for a sweet-and-spicy kick.
If you have a sweet tooth you cannot get rid of on its own, you can also whip up a mango milkshake. Or, add some mango slices to vanilla ice cream for a fresh take on your favorite dessert.
We all know ginger as the funky-looking root in the corner of the produce section at your favorite local grocery store.
But what you might not know is that ginger has been an integral part of traditional medicine for as long as anyone can remember.
That is for good reason.
Ginger is full of the protease zingibain, helping the food you eat move along your digestive tract faster and easier. Not to mention, it’s great for alleviating nausea, stomach upset and vomiting.
With the colder weather upon us (depending on where you live, of course), soup is always a wonderful choice for lunch or dinner.
Have you ever tried carrot ginger soup, though? If not, we promise that it’s one that is sure to please a crowd. (Or yourself!)
Maybe all the above natural sources turn you off in some way. Maybe the texture of each one of those foods we talked about is a serious no-go for you. Or, the taste of each of them is one you cannot stomach. Perhaps you have food allergies or dietary restrictions that prevent you from enjoying any of those foods.
You still have options!
Here at Dirobi, we have the best digestive enzymes available in supplement form. Click here to learn more about Eat Anything RX, your go-to supplement for enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics. Our customers have plenty to say about why they can literally eat anything with the help of Eat Anything RX, and we have a feeling it could work just as well for you too.
Are Digestive Enzymes Good for You?
If you have gone through testing for enzymes and found out that you have a deficiency, you will experience some of the negative effects that we talked about earlier.
Digestive enzymes are good for you. More than that, you need them to keep your body healthy and functioning the way that it should.
But you want to make sure you are using the right supplements if that is the route you decide to go.
There are super digestive enzymes, ones that claim to be the best digestive enzymes for weight loss and more.
So to really make sure you are getting what is best for you, you have to turn to experts who are actually out for your best interest. Keep reading to find out who that could be.
Is it Okay to Take Digestive Enzymes on a Daily Basis?
You might have concerns about digestive enzymes’ side effects if you take them in supplement form.
Certain supplements might not be safe enough for you to consume every day. But there are others yet that might actually benefit you to take every day.
Again, take Eat Anything RX by Dirobi for example.
You can take two of these supplements every day before either lunch or dinner. Then, you could be able to really eat anything with this digestive aid.
What Are the Causes of Digestive Enzyme Deficiencies?
There is no getting around it: digestive issues are awful.
You may experience stomach aches, gas, diarrhea or general discomfort when you cannot produce enough digestive enzymes.
But why is that? What is the cause of your stomach’s distress, or deficiency in these enzymes? There are many different digestive disorders that could be at fault here.
First, you could have lactose intolerance. In this case, your small intestine cannot produce enough of the enzyme lactase. Lactase is what breaks down the sugar in milk (called lactose). When you do not have enough lactase, the lactose will head right to your colon instead of your body absorbing it the right way.
There are three specific types of lactose intolerance.
First is primary lactose intolerance. With primary lactose intolerance, you have the gene as soon as you are born. That is, it is a genetic condition that you have no control over. African, Asian or Hispanic people are most likely to have primary lactose intolerance. When you are young, your lactase levels will just drop one day, which means you cannot digest dairy well.
With secondary lactose intolerance, your small intestine can no longer make as much lactase. This happens after some sort of bodily trauma, like with an injury, illness or surgery. This is also the type of lactose intolerance that comes with celiac or Crohn’s diseases.
The least common type of lactose intolerance comes from congenital or developmental lactose intolerance, when you are born without the ability to make lactase at all. This means both your mother and father would have to pass this down to you.
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is another reason you may have a digestive enzyme deficiency. This is a secondary condition, or one that another disorder causes. You may develop EPI if you have:
- Pancreatitis (when your pancreas experiences inflammation)
- Pancreatic cancer (which begins in your pancreas’s tissue)
- Cystic fibrosis (a chronic, genetic condition in which your lungs, digestive system and other various organs experience damage)
What Body Part Produces Digestive Enzymes?
As you can now imagine, your pancreas plays a crucial role in your body’s production of digestive enzymes.
But there is more than one body part that has to do with the process.
And a whole lot more that digestive enzymes can and will have an effect on.
Generally speaking, though, your pancreas is responsible for producing digestive enzymes. So you want to prioritize the health of your pancreas if you struggle with gut health.
Who Do You Turn to When You Need Help Along Your Journey to Better Health?
We have the answer for you: Dirobi.
Not only do we have the vitamins and supplements you may be missing in your diet. Dirobi owner, Dave Sherwin, is a certified fitness nutrition coach. And Sherwin offers 20-minute consultations to dial in your supplement strategy, according to your unique needs and goals. You can click here to schedule your own consultation.
We also have a podcast, The Dirobi Health Show, which you can listen to on your favorite podcast player. Feel free to check out our blog, too, for more tips and guides to help you along your journey to peak wellness.
And here’s a final reminder for you: here at Dirobi, we have the best digestive enzymes available in supplement form. Click here to learn more about Eat Anything RX, your go-to supplement for enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics.