Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Power of Digestive Enzymes!

In formulating a nutritional plan that is going to help you reach whatever fitness goals you have, you must be aware of the enzymes that your body produces to breakdown food.  Digestive enzymes are produced for and used to breakdown foods that we eat so that, during the process of digestion, nutrients can be extracted.  There are several glands along our digestive tract that produce enzymes to breakdown foods.  Glands that produce enzymes to breakdown the chemical bonds of foods are in your mouth, stomach, pancreas, and the small intestines.  These enzymes are essential in the digestion process and enable all cells in our bodies to receive energy needed to sustain life and function properly.  If your body is not able to manufacture and secrete these enzymes efficiently then you will build an intolerance to whatever nutrient that enzymes is used to breakdown.  For instance, people who are lactose intolerant do not produce the digestive enzyme called "lactase" efficiently enough to convert milk sugar or lactose into glucose.  These people receive no nutritional value from milk or dairy because of this and have to avoid drinking whole milk.

Here are 4 Important digestive enzymes manufactured and secreted in your body.

  1. Protease helps to digest protein.
  2. Amylase helps your body breakdown carbohydrates.
  3. Lactase digests milk and other dairy products.
  4. Lipase helps to digest fats and oils.
The Big Question:  How do you maintain constant and steady levels of enzymes being manufactured and secreted throughout your entire life?

First you must know that as we age our bodies produce these digestive enzymes at a slower rate.  A lot of people become lactose intolerant at an early age because your body naturally produces lactase more abundantly when you are an infant to digest milk.  Eventually, once you begin to consume more complex carbohydrates, lactase production in your body begins to subside. 

Have you ever have had problems with digesting certain foods? 
Are you not receiving adequate amounts of energy or any other wanted value from the foods you eat?

Here are some tips on how to promote and maintain enzyme production to make sure you are getting what you need out of what you are eating.

  1. Avoid overeating so that your body is not forced to constantly over produce chemicals to process energy.  This could lead to digestive enzyme depletion sooner than later.
  2. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables.  Raw fruits and vegetables have their own digestive enzymes and limit the amount of enzymes your body has to produce to breakdown and process nutrients. 
  3. Avoid cooking fruits and vegetables.  Enzymes can easily be destroyed in foods once there are cooked.  Cooking a vegetable can take alot of value away from your meal.  Eat Fresh!
  4. Make sure you chew your food well.  Amaylase and Lipase, which are enzymes produced to breakdown carbohydrates and fat, are secreted through salivary glands in your mouth to help breakdown foods.  A big part of the process of digestion should be done in your mouth.
  5. Digestive enzyme supplementation.  For whatever diegestive enzyme you are lacking, supplementation can be done by consuming more natural food enzymes.  Consulting with a physician about any other necessary oral supplements if needed.
  6. Eat healthy.  Eating healthy can guarantee that you are receiving the proper nutrients your body need to process energy more smoothly.  Eating unhealthy does play a toll as you age.  The value of a healthy balanced meal plan is worth while and acts as a catalyst for our bodies.  Being consistent with a healthy diet is in direct relation with changing your fluids on time over time on your car.  If you keep it up it will lasts longer!

Here's a link to a site that recommends pineapples as a great source of digestive enzymes.  Enjoy!

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