The four basic types of digestive enzymes are protease, lipase, amylase, and cellulase. Protease helps the body break down, digest, and assimilate proteins. Maintaining adequate protease levels should be of special concern to non-vegetarians. When the protein in meat is not digested properly, not only is the food wasted but extra strain is put on the colon to eliminate waste.
Lipase, which helps to properly and safely digest fats, is critical to maintaining the right levels of good fats within the body. Amylase assists the body in digesting carbohydrates; it supports vital energy production within the body.
Cellulase breaks down cellulose that is found within the cell walls of plants. These four enzymes are required to properly use the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids we strive to incorporate into our diets daily.
Nutrition Tips : How Do Enzymes Relate to Digestion?
There are three primary ways that we may obtain enzymes: natural production of enzymes by the body, eating raw foods, and enzyme supplementation. The body produces enzymes naturally for all of the body’s activities – respiration, central nervous system actions, and digestion to name only a few.
As we age, the body produces fewer enzymes; this typically happens after age 27. The enzymes produced are allocated for use by important vital organs. When the body is forced to rob vital organs of enzymes to take care of digestion, those organs suffer systematic damage over time.
Even when the body uses its enzymes for digestion, there may not be enough to digest the wide range of foods that we eat regularly which causes the food to remain in the colon longer than it should.
A way to reduce the strain on the body to produce enough enzymes for digestion is to change one’s diet. Recently, the raw food diet has garnered plenty of positive recognition as a healthy lifestyle to adopt. Raw foodists are usually vegetarians who have traded in their cereal grains and processed soy meat substitutes for more raw fruits and vegetables.
Raw fruits and vegetables are vitamin packed and come with their own enzymes needed for proper digestion. By reducing the dependence on cooked and processed food and introducing raw foods into the diet, one is able to increase enzymatic efficiency.
The last and easiest way to obtain enzymes is through supplementation. Using a full spectrum enzyme ensures that the body has enough to enzymes to break down food and other supplements consumed. These supplements may be vegetarian formulations that have been scientifically tested to be effective in the acidic environment of the stomach.
Maintaining adequate enzyme levels assists the body in controlling weight gain, blood sugar responses, and acts as an anti-aging therapy. When the body has adequate nutrition and waste products are eliminated properly, the body sheds weight because there is no need to hang on to excess fat stores. Fat storage is a physical response from a body that fears inadequate nutrition.
Detoxification is achieved simultaneously since the body’s excess fat typically contains harmful toxins. Enzymes that allow for the optimum use of carbohydrates help the body to balance blood sugar and may help those suffering from diabetes.
Supplementing enzymes into the diet helps improve the functioning of all the activities of the body’s organs without placing a strain on the body to produce additional enzymes. This strain causes aging to the body’s tissues long term.
Optimizing and supplementing enzymes is one way to achieve and maintain good overall health. We must remember to optimize enzymes naturally produced by the body at the earliest stage of digestion by allowing the saliva to break down food as it is chewed thoroughly.
Reducing the amount of cooked and processed foods also helps reduce the strain on the body’s enzyme production. Daily consumption of full spectrum enzyme supplements directly before, after, and in between meals is necessary for total body rejuvenation.