When patients come visit me, our initial talks almost always revolve around digestion. I encourage patients not to be shy; we talk about everything from what they are eating, how to chew foods, how they feel before, during and after their meals, and then of course … pooping. If I sense someone is being bashful, I dig a little deeper which leads to some giggles and finally, everything is laid out in a place that I can help them the best.
Enzymes are always on my mind when listening to patients. If your enzymes are not optimally working, absorption of nutrients won’t be so great which leads to a myriad of health problems: from bone loss to poor growth, mental ability, concentration, fatigue and much more.
Digestive enzymes help break down foods into smaller pieces. This allows the nutrients in foods to be readily absorbed into the bloodstream and delivered to where they need to go. Digestive enzymes are found in saliva ( it’s important to chew), the stomach ( hydrochloric acid), the pancreas and the intestines. They all have similar missions: get the foods broken down small enough so the body can absorb the nutrients and fuel the body.
Lifestyle effects on enzymes
( daily activities that inhibit optimal enzyme function)
- processed foods: the heating may destroy most enzymes in foods
- eating on the run: eating too fast and not fully chewing foods
- eating under stress ( enjoy your foods – every last bite )
- poor diet: lack of whole colorful foods
- leading a stressful life
Signs of poor enzyme activity
- stomach pain – cramps, a tad flatulent
- heart burn and acid reflux
- muscle pain
- food sensitivities
How to enhance enzyme activity
- drink a cup of warm water with half to whole lemon before each meal
- or, place a tsp to tbsp of organic cider vinegar in a cup of water and drink before each meal
- eat more whole colorful foods
- eat slowly
- chew your foods thoroughly
- keep hydrated
It still amazes me how well the body responds when supported. The simplest changes that can make profound differences in one’s health.
Remember, It is always best to consult with your doctor with any health concerns.
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Middle and High School Nutrition 101 teaches this and Functional Nutrition, launching early spring, goes into greater depth.