Foods that contain natural digestive enzymes
Updated: 5 days ago
Digestive enzymes speed up chemical reactions that turn nutrients into substances that your digestive tract can absorb. Without sufficient digestive enzymes stomach aches, diarrhea, gas, or other painful symptoms can result.
Lactose intolerant. This is when your small intestine doesn't make enough of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the natural sugar in milk called lactose. With a shortage of lactase, lactose in dairy products that you eat travels straight to your colon instead of getting absorbed into your body. It then combines with bacteria and causes uncomfortable stomach symptoms.
It’s often recommended to chew food thoroughly before swallowing, as the enzymes in saliva help break down food for easier digestion and absorption. Some of your organs including your pancreas, gallbladder, and liver, also release them. Cells on the surface of your intestines store them, too.
As you get older digestive enzymes decrease. This makes it necessary to supplement them or eat foods that have them. Adding any of these foods to your diet may help promote digestion and better gut health:
Amylase breaks down carbs and starches
Mangoes and bananas have amylase.
Lipase helps digest fat molecules into smaller molecules, such as fatty acids and glycerol, (which are easier for the body to absorb).
Protease aids the digestion and absorption of proteins.
Pineapples contain a group of digestive enzymes called bromelain (proteases), which break down protein into its building blocks, including amino acids.
Papayas contain papain (proteases) that help digest proteins. Papain is also available as a meat tenderizer and digestive supplement. It is best ripe and uncooked, as heat exposure can destroy these digestive enzymes. Also, unripe or semi-ripe papayas can be dangerous for pregnant women, as it may stimulate contractions.
Apricots contain invertase, a digestive enzyme that helps break down the stone fruit’s sugar and deliver quick energy to your body’s cells. What’s more, research suggests the fruit may also ease gastrointestinal issues, like constipation, acid reflux, and indigestion.
The following are enzymes found in Raw honey:
Diastases: Break down starch into maltose
Amylases: Break down starch into sugars
Invertases: Break down sucrose, into glucose and fructose
Proteases: Break down proteins into amino acids
Processed honey is often heated, and high heat can destroy digestive enzymes.
Avocadoes contain: Amylases and glucosidases, enzymes that break down complex carbs into more easily absorbed sugars. Lipase which helps the body metabolize fat, is also in avocadoes.
Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that contains many digestive enzymes, including lipases, proteases and lactases. These enzymes break down fat, protein and lactose molecules.
Raw sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, picks up digestive enzymes during the fermentation process. Proteases, lipases and amylases. High temperatures may deactivate its digestive enzymes
Kimchi is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, a type of fungus. Kimchi is another dish made from fermented vegetables. It’s fermented with bacteria of the Bacillus species, which produce proteases, lipases and amylases. These enzymes digest proteins, fats and carbs.
Miso is made by fermenting soybeans with the fungi koji, which adds digestive enzymes, such as lactases, lipases, proteases and amylases.
Kiwi has a protease called actinidain. This enzyme helps digest proteins and is commercially used to tenderize tough meats.
Ginger contains the digestive enzyme zingibain, which is a protease.
Here are some digestive enzyme that you can purchase for regular use.