The Role of Enzymes and Healthy Digestion
Have you been enjoying July and eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies? Hopefully, you have incorporated plenty of local produce into your diet and are feeling healthy and happy. This time we thought we’d talk about one of the lesser known benefits of a diet high in fruits and veggies: enzymes.
In addition to the enzymes the body produces, we also get enzymes from the foods we eat. Fruits and veggies are some of the best sources of enzymes. Enzymes play a critical role in the digestion process, and there many of ways to increase your intake of enzymes, especially through making juices and smoothies.
Beginning with the saliva in your mouth through the entire digestion and elimination process, enzymes break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. This allows our bodies to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from what we eat. With the right balance of enzymes, food is broken down into the smallest particles to limit the amount of undigested food that passes through the intestines to the colon. Enzymes are also thought to increase the immune system and prevent disease.
Here are some of the foods highest in enzymes, broken down by category:
|FRUITS||VEGETABLES||NUTS AND SEEDS|
In keeping with juice and smoothie month, here are two enzyme packed recipes for you to enjoy:
compliments of The Complete Book of Juicing, by Michael T. Murray, N.D.
- ½ mango, pitted
- 2 oranges, peeled
- ½ papaya, seeded, sliced
- ¼ pineapple with skin, sliced
- 1 banana, peeled
Juice the mango first, followed by one of the oranges, then the papaya, another orange, and finally the pineapple. Pour into a blender, add the banana, and liquefy.
Energy Booster Green Smoothie
compliments of Simple Health
- 1 cup pineapple
- 1 orange
- 1 handful cilantro
- 2 cups greens of choice, including spinach
- 1 cup coconut water or regular water
Put ingredients in the blender in the order listed, then blend to your desired level of consistency.
As you can see, there are lots of options to choose from when looking to increase your intake of enzymes. To get the most benefit, eat fruits and vegetables raw. Anything heated to above 115 degrees loses not only all of the enzyme content, but other nutrients as well. Summer is rich with opportunities to get fresh, local produce. Get out and get some sunshine, meet your local farmers, and collect ideas for creative food and drink options. The possibilities are endless!
Next time we will take a further look at juicing and making smoothies, and give suggestions on choosing the juicer or blender that’s best for you.