Food is a major part of everyone's lives and the body expends a lot of energy digesting it. Digestive enzymes help to break down food and aid in absorbing nutrients into our blood stream.
Raw foods are an excellent source
Fruit and vegetables as well as some fermented foods contain an abundance of enzymes. Digestive enzymes are deactivated at 48 degrees Celsius which means that cooked and pasturised foods do not contain beneficial digestive enzymes.
People who should consider taking an enzyme supplement
- Those who suffer from digestive discomfort - if you suffer from bloating after meals then an enzyme supplement may help you break down your food.
- As you get older - as we age, digestion slows down a little so if you are over 65 and suffer from symptoms then a supplement may be beneficial.
- If you have difficulty absorbing nutrients from food - e.g. someone who is lactose intolerant.
Bromelain is the most common enzyme supplement and is extracted from the stem and juice of a pineapple. The bromelain enzymes are also often used to reduce inflammation from injury.
As with any supplement there is always the risk of side effects so should you have any concerns at all you should always consult your doctor.
You may also wish to read about probiotics and prebiotics which are also beneficial for digestion.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.