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American are experiencing a growing prevalence of chronic disease in today’s society. More than 219 million are seriously overweight or obese, and many of them suffer from obesity-related disease.
Sluggishness, fatigue, irritability, and malnourishment are all-too-common characteristics of modern living. Many people, despite their best efforts at eating healthy and trying to live healthier lives… just aren’t seeing the results they expect.
Maybe you’ve started to pack on a few extra pounds and are wondering to yourself, why isn’t this working?
Believe it or not, you can eat the healthiest foods in the world while exercising regularly and still not see positive results if your body isn’t digesting the foods you eat.
Every time you eat, your body naturally supposed to initiates a very complex process of breaking down and assimilating your food. This important digestive involuntary effect often isn’t working as it should.
Therefore, too many folks experience indigestion, acid reflux, flatulence, bloating, and other symptoms of poor digestion after eating. Over time, these symptoms can progress into conditions like Crohn’s disease and even cancer.
What Your Food Might Be Missing for Proper Digestion
In many instances, the missing piece that causes all of this are a lack of digestive enzymes. Enzymes are the energetic catalysts that turn food into usable nutrients, and yet they’re also some of the most delicate components of food − easily destroyed by heating, processing, and pasteurization.
Most of the foods that people eat today are grossly deficient in enzymes, which means their bodies are having to work overtime to compensate.
So… what are some solutions? Here are five things you can do that can make a world of difference to your digestive health and make your efforts at eating healthy much more productive.
#1 – Eat More Raw and Fermented Foods
Almost every food that isn’t raw is lacking or completely devoid of enzymes
Cultured and fermented foods are another great source of enzymes. In fermented foods the pre-digestion process has already been kick-started through the introduction of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and helpful acids, which help to naturally generate more enzymes in food. Kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, raw milk, and sourdough are a few examples of nutrient-dense cultured and fermented foods that are rich in enzymes.
#2 – Chew Your Food Thoroughly
The first step is to thoroughly chew your food every time you eat, as this is how the body jumpstarts the process of turning whole foods into amino acids, fatty acids, cholesterol, simple sugars, and nucleic acids.
These serve as the “fuel” to keep your body healthy, nourished, and strong.
Dr. Mattes presented research at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Chicago that showed that the longer a person chews food, the better able the body is to digest it.
“The more you chew, the less is lost and more is retained in the body.”
#3 – Avoid Enzyme-Inhibiting Foods
It’s also important to minimize foods that contain enzyme-inhibiting constituents that impede digestion.
Many processed foods contain enzyme-inhibitors such as chemical preservatives, refined sugar, chemically-processed and treated white flour, and synthetic sweetening agents.
One way to help rid foods of harmful anti-nutrients is to soak and/or sprout them before eating.
Soaking and sprouting helps to unlock the nutrients that are bound up by anti-nutrients and makes them more bioavailable to your body when you eat them. Sprouting is especially essential to maximize the digestibility of nuts and legumes.
#4 – Eat More Enzyme-Rich Foods
While all raw foods have enzymes, some have more enzymes than others. Since it’s nearly impossible in our modern world to eat a raw food diet all the time, incorporating more of the following high-enzyme foods into your daily routine will help give you that extra “kick” of enzymes to really boost your body’s digestion:
* Pineapples: rich in bromelain, an anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer class of enzyme that supports protein digestion
* Avocados: rich in lipase, a nutritive enzyme that supports fat digestion
* Bananas: rich in amylase, which supports carbohydrate digestion, and maltase, which supports sugar digestion
* Apricots: rich in invertase, an enzyme that supports sugar and carbohydrate digestion
* Kiwis: rich in actinidin, a unique enzyme found only in kiwifruit that very effectively breaks down proteins in meat and dairy.
#5 – Take a Full-Spectrum Enzyme Supplement
One can support their diet with supplemental enzymes to attaining health nutrition. A good, full-spectrum digestive enzyme formula will contain a wide array of digestive enzymes. Some formulas will contain betain HCL (hydrochloric acid) and pepsin as well, which together support optimal levels of stomach acid that works alongside enzymes to process and digest food.
Other key ingredients in a high-quality enzyme supplement include lactase, the enzyme that breaks down milk lactose, as well as all three types of pancreatic enzymes, which include:
* Proteases: help support the breakdown and digestion of proteins
* Lipase: helps support the breakdown and digestion of fats
* Amylase: helps support the breakdown and digestion of starches and carbohydrates
Complementary enzyme co-factor herbs and spices like peppermint, ginger, and amla (gooseberry) are also key features in many high-quality enzyme supplements, as these unique nutrients are known to aid in the digestive process. Medicinal mushrooms like reishi and turkey tail − and especially those that have been fermented to extract even more nutrients compared to their raw form − are also highly-beneficial in supporting maximum enzyme effectiveness and efficiency.
Dr. Axe ; “Dr. Axe – Natural Remedies – Nutrients & Supplements ” (Blog), June 10, 2017, https://draxe.com/digestive-enzymes/
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