Micronutrients and Your Children – Digestive Enzymes

We all know that when we are talking about health and wellness, our food choices are one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. What’s interesting is what happens after we consume our food, this is when our bodies start working and using enzymes in our saliva and digestive tracts to help break down our food and turn them into nutrients that our bodies absorb to stay healthy.

These enzymes are found all over our body including in our saliva, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, and our intestines. Enzyme names usually end with an ‘ase’, and the beginning of each enzyme name is more specific to the nutrients that they help to break down, for example:

  • Lipase breaks down fats
  • Protease breaks down proteins
  • Amylase breaks down carbohydrates and starches l

Natural sources of digestive enzymes

Even though our bodies produce their own digestive enzymes, there are some foods you can eat that naturally contain enzymes that can help improve digestion. Some examples of these foods are:

  • Papaya and honey which contain protease
  • Avocado which contains lipase
  • Banana and mangos which contain amylase
  • Sauerkraut and kefir which contain many digestive enzymes including lipases, proteases, and lactases as well as beneficial probiotics
Digestive Enzymes in foods

Great natural sources of digestive enzymes

Other applications

As well as helping us to digest our food, enzymes also have other valuable applications in the industrial and medical fields. Enzymes play an important role in the production of bread, wine, beer and cheese and have been used widely in the world of medicine including helping to diagnose and treat specific diseases, clean and heal wounds and help manufacture medicines.

Maintaining your enzymes

It’s important to know that even though our bodies produce digestive enzymes on their own, it can be easy to become deficient in enzymes when consuming highly processed diets that are low in fruits and vegetables. Digestive enzymes present in foods are also very heat sensitive and can be destroyed during the cooking process, so be sure to include a range of fresh fruits and vegetables in your family’s diet to ensure optimal digestive health.