The Secret to Your Body’s Nutrition
Whatever goes on in your “gut” has a huge impact on your mental health, physical health, and overall wellness. Digestive enzymes are no exception. “Enzymes” is such a popular buzzword in the health industry today, but we bet there’s few people who can actually explain what they are.
Everyone has digestive enzymes naturally occurring in their bodies (at least, they’re supposed to), but sometimes they’re a) not working properly or b) lacking, due to various diseases, digestive tract inflammation, aging, low stomach acid, chronic stress, and other causes.
Today we’re going to explain everything you ever wanted - and needed - to know about digestive enzymes and why they’re so important. Annnd, we’ll do our best to make this fun and interesting, because this actually is an important topic. We promise!
WHAT THEY ARE & WHERE THEY COME FROM
Did you know that there’s more to nutrition than simply chewing and swallowing? Your digestive system doesn’t actually absorb the food you eat - it absorbs the nutrients from the food you eat. Digestive enzymes are responsible for breaking down food into nutrients so that your body can absorb the nutrients and function at its full potential!
WHAT THIS MEANS
Digestive enzymes are primarily produced in the pancreas and small intestine, but they’re also made in saliva glands and the stomach. They can also be supplemented.
If you don’t have enough digestive enzymes, you can’t break down your food; this means that even though you may be eating a proper diet, you aren’t absorbing any of the nutrients. There are a few ways to tell if your body is lacking digestive enzymes. If you experience any of the following:
- Gas and bloating after meals
- The sensation of a rock in your gut
- Feeling full after eating a few bites of food
- Undigested food in your stool
- Floating stools
… it may be time to consider correcting a digestive enzyme deficiency.
HOW TO CORRECT A DIGESTIVE ENZYME DEFICIENCY
Dietary Changes: Changing your diet can reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, therefore, improving nutrient deficiencies and fixing gut bacteria. Diets such as Whole30 or Paleo are particularly great options because they are based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots, and meat, while excluding foods such as dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, alcohol, and coffee. These diets help to restore digestive enzymes by removing these ‘excluded’ foods, which are enzyme inhibitors.
Managing Stress: This is vitally important to restoring healthy digestive function. By switching gears into a parasympathetic, or “rest and digest” mode, you restore your body to a state of calm and allow it to relax and repair.
For example, rather than shoveling your mouth with food at lunchtime trying to make it to your next meeting, make an effort to plan your schedule so you have plenty of time to devote to eating while in a parasympathetic mode. When you do this,
- your saliva is increased,
- digestive enzymes are released,
- your muscles relax, and
- your heart rate drops.
All of these biological responses are designed to maintain long-term health, conserve energy, maintain a healthy balance in your body’s systems, and [what we’re talking about here] … improve digestion.
Digestive Enzyme Supplementation: This may be necessary to help your body properly break down your food. Remember, without digestive enzymes, we couldn’t process food!
The main reasons why it’s beneficial to take digestive enzymes are to:
- take stress off the GI tract,
- assist the body in breaking down difficult-to-digest proteins and sugars,
- greatly improve symptoms of acid reflux and IBS,
- enhance nutrition absorption, and
- prevent nutritional deficiency.
So now you’re probably wondering where you can find digestive enzymes. Well, look no further! Our completely unbiased favorite enzymes are YOR Digest Ultra.
These 100% plant-derived babies not only improve digestion and nutrient absorption, but they also support healthy blood sugar levels, fat metabolism, energy production, and brain function; reduce discomfort by easing digestive disturbances; and include probiotics, prebiotics, and other essential nutrients.
If you’d like to know a little more background information on the digestive system and gut health, check out our blog post titled “Your Gut: The Gateway to Health.” Here, you’ll find some great information about gut health and why this is such an important foundation for health.