The One Thing Ignored By Almost Everyone With Poor Digestion
Enzymes act as driving forces to help your body break down food, absorb nutrients and eliminate wastes. Yet the estimated 3,000 enzymes in your body do much more than aid digestion. Here is what you need to know.
The Role of Enzymes in Digestion
After you eat, your body begins a complex, marvelously orchestrated process by which the nutrients locked inside food are extracted and distributed. The journey of food through the digestive system starts in the mouth, where amylase in your saliva initiates the breakdown of carbohydrates. As the food enters the stomach, proteases break down protein. Food then continues through the small intestine, where lipases digest fats and amylase completes the digestion of carbohydrates. Aside from these three enzymes, you have five more primary digestive enzymes, each of which has a specific function in breaking down food.
What Happens When You Don’t Have Enough Enzymes?
The consequences of an enzyme deficiency are wide ranging. As you would expect, one effect is poor digestion, manifesting in constipation, flatulence, acid reflux, bloating, belching and cramping. The malabsorption would lead to an array of illnesses because your body isn’t getting the nutritional building blocks it needs for optimal health. In addition, since the gut profoundly influences your immunity, digestive issues would curtail your ability to fight infections.
What Causes an Enzyme Insufficiency?
A major cause is the typical western diet, an eating plan that is comprised mainly of cooked, processed and sugary foods. The structure of enzymes is fragile; therefore, when food is heated above 116° F, their shape changes, rendering them inactive. Furthermore, the more refined a food is, the less the gut is able is to absorb its nutrients, a problem that creates a higher demand on the digestive system.
Aging can also cause the body to produce insufficient enzymes. According to noted natural health proponent Dr. Joseph Mercola, every ten years your body’s manufacture of enzymes declines by 15 percent. Compounding the trouble, aging is associated with a reduction in the stomach’s production of hydrochloric acid, a substance that activates this organs’ digestive enzymes.
Manifold Effects of Insufficient Enzymes
When the western diet leads to the increased demand for enzymes and aging leads to the insufficient supply, a deficiency ensues. Inadequate digestive enzymes reduce the availability of metabolic enzymes, catalysts that are needed for the functioning of each of the 10 trillion cells in your body.
Since the activity of all your internal organs and organ systems is dependent upon metabolic enzymes, the effects of their decreased availability can be manifold. For example, some of these types of enzymes fight inflammation, a malady that left unchecked, can lead to cancer and cardiovascular disease.
How to Increase Your Enzymes Naturally
Two eating practices can help. Chewing your food thoroughly will increase the production of saliva, a benefit that will reduce the digestive burden on the stomach and small intestine. Eating fewer calories will also lessen the demand for digestive enzymes.
The best way to get enough enzymes is to consume a diet rich in raw live foods. Raw foods are rich in enzymes, so eating them reduces the body’s need for their production. The most powerful source is sprouts of any kind. Excellent fruit sources include mangoes, pineapples, and papayas along with grapes and kiwi. Other great sources are avocado, bee pollen and raw honey as well as coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. Although these are the foods with the most enzymatic content, any raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are also good.
As you can see, enzymes are critically important for every aspect of health, and the primary source is uncooked food, otherwise known as live food. I once read something from a natural health expert that I never forgot: “To be alive, you must eat live foods.” Many people within the alternative health community believe in the value of the living food diet and would staunchly concur with this statement.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.