The old saying, “You are what you eat,” is only partially true. In reality, you are what you digest and absorb. Eating the healthiest, most nutritious foods can be providing little to no value if the foods are not being broken down and absorbed.
When we eat foods such as chicken and broccoli it is broken down into its nutrient pieces: amino acids (from proteins), fatty acids and cholesterol (from fats), and simple sugars (from carbohydrates), as well as vitamins, minerals, and and other compounds. Digestive enzymes, break down our food into nutrients so that our bodies can absorb them.
If our bodies aren’t providing enough digestive enzymes, we can’t break down our food—which means even though we’re eating well, we aren’t absorbing all that good nutrition.
What would cause digestive enzymes to stop working correctly in the body?
1. Diseases may prevent proper digestive enzyme production. Some disease states that can cause this include: pancreatic problems, coeliac disease and chron’s disease.
2. Low-grade inflammation in the digestive tract (such as that caused by food allergies and sensitivities, intestinal permeability, bacteria in the gut, parasitic infection, etc.) can lead to deficiencies in digestive enzymes.
3. Low stomach acid can impair digestive function. Low stomach acid can be caused by high stress, fast and processed foods, refined sugar, antibiotic use, prescription, and over the counter drug use and other toxins that we expose our bodies to.
4. Chronic stress. This is the most common reason for digestive enzyme problems. When we are highly stressed, our digestive system is given a very low priority over other things our body is fighting to stabilise.
What can i do about a digestive enzyme deficiency?
First, look at your diet and adjust it to include natural, unprocessed foods, avoiding refined sugars, gluten and dairy. Dietary interventions work by reducing inflammation in the body and the digestive tract, improving nutrient deficiencies and removing enzyme inhibitors.
Managing chronic stress is vitally important to restoring healthy digestive function. Most of us are too busy to take the time to actually sit down and eat without being on the computer, watching t.v, looking at Facebook or working! We live our lives in a constant state of stress and fast paced living, not giving our bodies the opportunity to do their jobs properly, resulting in poor digestion. When we sit down to eat we should be conscious of chewing, swallowing and giving our body time to process the food.
Some of us may require a little more help and may need to include digestive enzyme supplementation to assist your body in breaking down food. Kasey, our nutritionist can help you with specific food programs, supplements or advice – call 5504 7000 to find out more or schedule an appointment.