We all know that maintaining a clean, nutritious diet is paramount when it comes to looking after our health and giving our bodies strength to perform at our best. But how do you know all of the nutrients you’re eating are actually being absorbed? Digestive enzymes are the key to ensuring that these important nutrients are delivered to all the necessary places in your body for optimum utilisation.
Digestive enzymes are the proteins that your body naturally produces, primarily in the pancreas, to help break down the food you consume so that the nutrients can then be absorbed by the body. Lactase, pepsin, amylase, and lipase are some of the main enzymes that work to break down lactose, protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Although your body naturally produces these enzymes, it may not be producing a sufficient amount. This can slow your digestion and cause symptoms such as gas, bloating, and diarrhoea.
Poor gut health can have a direct impact on your physical performance. If your body’s ability to absorb nutrients is inhibited, you will not be able to utilise the fuel you need to perform at your peak output. This was a serious consideration when we were creating Reload. We formulated a unique gut health blend that’s rich in probiotics and digestive enzymes. Reload helps to optimise your performance by enhancing nutrient absorption and balancing the bacteria in your gut.
There are also a number of foods that are packed with digestive enzymes. Here are 9 foods you can easily incorporate into your diet to optimise your gut health and performance.
Avocados contain the enzyme lipase, which is essential to digest and metabolise fat. Although fairly plain by themselves, there are plenty of ways to jazz up your avocado toast. Plus, make your smoothies creamier by adding some avo. It will still taste the same, but with a nutritious boost of healthy fats!
Pineapples contain a combination of enzymes called bromelain that help to digest protein. Bromelain is sensitive to heat, so eating more raw pineapple in your diet is a fantastic way to boost your intake of digestive enzymes. Add this fruit to your smoothies or salads for a delicious and refreshing change.
Top Tip: Not a fan of pineapples? Reload is rich in the same complex of natural digestive enzymes, Bromelain. Try our Reload Protein Bars to consume the same goodness in a tasty and convenient snack on the go. Click here to find out more.
Mangos contain amylase, a form of enzyme that helps your body break down starches into smaller carb molecules for easy absorption. Make your salad a little more inviting by topping it off with some mango cubes.
Ginger is a fantastic food to aid digestion because the enzyme zingibain helps break down protein, plus it may also help increase the body’s production of digestive enzymes. Enjoy it in your favourite Asian cuisine, a soothing tea, or add it to your smoothies for an extra kick.
Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk beverage that’s rich in vitamins, minerals and probiotics. It contains lipase, lactase and proteases, which are the digestive enzymes that help your body break down and digest fat, lactose and protein, respectively. You can find tasty flavoured kefir milk drinks, or pour it over your cereal, just like milk. You can even use it in your baking!
Papaya contains papain, another form of enzyme that helps to break down protein. As heat can cause damage to these enzymes, it’s best to consume papaya raw to reap the full digestive benefits. Simply add it to your fruit salads or smoothies.
Sauerkraut is a fantastic side dish to add to your meal for a rich source of various digestive enzymes. These help your body break down starches, fats and proteins. If you’re buying your sauerkraut from the supermarket, ensure you choose one that is fermented (made with water and salt rather than vinegar).
Raw honey is an excellent natural sweetener to drizzle on top of yoghurt or to replace the teaspoons of sugar in your tea and coffee. It helps break down starches, sugars and proteins via the digestive enzymes diastases, invertases, and proteases. Processed honey is often heated throughout treatment, which may eradicate any digestive benefits. Therefore, it’s important that you buy raw honey if you want to experience the positive effects for your gut.
Bananas aren’t just a great source of potassium – they’re also packed with the enzymes maltase and amylase. Similar to mangoes, bananas can help break down complex carbs with amylase. Meanwhile, the maltase helps break down the malt sugar found in carb-loaded foods. Bananas are super easy to add to your diet as a convenient snack on the go or as an addition to your cereal and smoothies.
Top Tip: You can also add bananas as a topping to our tasty and nutritious choc-chip protein pancakes. Click here for the recipe.