Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics

Digestive enzymes are critical for proper digestion. They are proteins manufactured in your own body and found in food that facilitate chemical reactions. “Processing, cooking, gulping down meals, and drinking fluids while eating reduce the number of enzymes that make their way into the digestive tract.” –Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Here is a list of a few enzymes that aid in digestion:

  • Papain—breakdown of proteins
  • Amylase—breakdown of carbohydrates (sugars)
  • Lipase—breakdown of fats
  • Cellulase—breakdown of fiber
  • Lactase—breakdown of dairy

If you suspect that your food is not being digested properly (if you’re not pooping regularly), general recommendations of supplementation are 1-4 capsules with each meal.

Probiotics are health-promoting gut bacteria. Bacterial infections, the use of antibiotics, stress, alcohol and specific dietary factors can disrupt the balance of the bacteria in our gut. If this imbalance remains, it can lead to diabetes, obesity, cancers, autoimmune disorders and more. Remember, balance is key, so start slow if you wish to supplement with probiotics. Good sources are listed below:

  • Raw unpasteurized sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha beverages
  • Coconut-based kefirs (Kevita is my new favorite)

Just be careful not to overdo it. Start slow and listen to your body. To be sure, ask your doctor.

For more on digestive enzymes and probiotics, here is a short read from Lift Big Eat Big. Also, reference It Starts with Food, by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I HIGHLY recommend this book if you are ready to commit to improving your overall health.

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