CAT | Digestive Enzymes
It’s no coincidence the Standard America Diet is nicknamed SAD. Loaded with heavily processed, sugary and fried foods, it lacks the beneficial enzymes needed to support healthy digestion—often resulting in occasional heartburn, indigestion, and uncomfortable gas and bloating. Here are 10 cool facts you may not know about enzymes:
- Enzymes play an important role in every function in the human body. The protein-based substances are involved in eating, digestion, breathing, kidney and liver function, reproduction, elimination and more.
- Several places in your digestive system secrete enzymes. They include the mouth, stomach, pancreas and cells of the small intestine—even your gut bacteria secrete digestive enzymes.
- Enzymes help with nutrient absorption. They help break down foods in the digestive tract by breaking apart the bonds that hold nutrients together—nutrients that will be absorbed so the body can use them for energy and other important functions.
- Different types of enzymes for different types of foods. Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are the most basic foods the body breaks down and absorbs; the enzymes protease, lipase and amylase are made by the body for this purpose.
- Diet and lifestyle make a big difference. A healthy diet, exercise and proper detoxification will help promote healthy enzyme production in the body.
- Humans used to get a LOT more enzymes from their diet. In the past, humans consumed plenty of raw foods to help re-supply the digestive tract with beneficial enzymes, but today most of the foods we eat are cooked or heavily processed—both of which deplete natural enzymes. What’s more, because even the raw foods we eat are typically transported and refrigerated, their natural enzyme content is lowered even further.
- Enzyme production decreases with age. As we age, our bodies produce less protease, lipase and amylase, which means digestion of protein, fats, and carbohydrates can be impaired as we get older.
- There are several digestive enzymes the human body lacks. These include cellulase and phytase, the enzymes needed to break down cellulose (plant fiber) and the phytates/phytic acid found in beans and legumes. Because of this deficiency, many people have trouble breaking down starchy beans, legumes and nuts to absorb their beneficial nutrients.
- Plant-derived enzymes are effective over a broader pH range in the body. For this reason, a plant-based digestive enzyme supplement is often recommended to help break down a wide variety of foods—including proteins, fats, dairy, carbs and sugars.‡
- Kids benefit from enzymes too! Taken with meals, enzymes are great way to support digestive health and help little tummies break down a broad range of foods.‡
Do you suffer from occasional constipation? What does it really mean to be constipated? And can occasional constipation impact your overall health? All of these are important questions to ask. Occasional constipation slows down food transit time and allows undigested food to remain in the colon longer. The putrefied material then releases harmful toxins, which can enter the bloodstream through the intestinal wall.
So Just what is Occasional Constipation?
Occasional constipation is often defined as having infrequent bowel movements with stools that are typically hard, dry and difficult to eliminate. You may even experience some cramping and bloating. While many factors can lead to the development of constipation, the following are some of the most common:
- Diet: Because a diet that consists of too many refined sugars, starches and processed foods can lead to constipation, eating plenty of fiber-rich, non-starchy foods that are low in sugar is an important part of maintaining healthy bowel movements.
- Lack of exercise: Exercise triggers the lymphatic flow that helps stimulate peristalsis (the natural muscle contractions that move food through the intestines and help ease elimination).
- Changes in routine: Changes in normal daily activity can often throw off your internal schedule, which can affect your bowel movements and lead to occasional constipation.
- Lack of time: Although taking the time to eliminate regularly is an important part of good bowel health, many people simply don’t do it. Try setting aside time in your day to go to the bathroom, even it means setting the alarm a bit earlier.
3 Simple Steps for Natural Relief
Follow this easy 3-step approach to achieve at least one healthy bowel movement every day.‡
- HYDRATE the Colon
Properly hydrating the colon will promote regular peristalsis. Drink plenty of water and use hydrating minerals such as magnesium hydroxide and gentle (laxative) herbs such as cape aloe and rhubarb to assist with natural bowel movements.‡
- ADD BULK with Fiber
A healthy colon requires bulk in order to eliminate regularly, and fiber can help provide that bulk.‡ Many people do not consume enough fiber through diet alone. A flax-based fiber supplement is ideal for promoting at least one healthy daily bowel movement because it provides a better balance of soluble and insoluble fiber.‡ Avoid fibers that could be binding, such as psyllium, as they can leave the colon dehydrated and in turn reduce peristalsis.
- LUBRICATE with Oils
To achieve bowel regularity and a healthy elimination schedule, it is critical to keep the colon lubricated. Beneficial oils such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats from fish oil, flax oil and borage oil help in providing the necessary lubrication for smooth and gentle bowel elimination.‡