What the heck are digestive enzymes and why might you need them? Get the inside scoop from a registered dietitian nutritionist here.
After 5,473 days of winter it feels like we can finalllllly start believing it’s really spring, and that summer is just around the corner. We can slowly start coming out of what feels a little bit like hibernation and transition into spring mode, filling our weekends with soccer games and barbecues, pool parties and birthday celebrations, picnics and concerts.
[Hey guys – what follows is a sponsored post I’ve created with a brand that I believe in and we already use in our day to day lives – Renew Life® Digest Smart Enzymes.I feel good about supporting it and hope you do too.]
Our laid-back mostly empty schedule quickly transitions into a packed (but fun-filled) calendar of events. With the gorgeous spring weather comes school events, parties, and barbecues that all seem full of savory, sweet, and just straight up delicious foods.
For some people all those food-centric events are no big deal, but for others, eating so many different foods (especially if they’re processed or protein-rich) can cause some discomfort, like gas and bloating. Pretty much exactly what you don’t want when you’re trying to enjoy a fun-filled event or weekend. I mean, the last thing you want to do is put an early-end to your good time because your stomach is betraying you (been there, done that!)
Bloating and discomfort shouldn’t have to be part of your social schedule, and your shouldn’t have to cancel or avoid food-filled events because you’re not sure how you’re body will react (also been there, done that – I used to be the queen of unfortunate stomach issues before I truly learned what “gut health” meant).
I fee like we hear a lot about “gut health” these days, but we don’t always talk about what it means or why it’s important. The gut is considered the core of your body’s overall health and well-being and can affect your entire body including immune health, energy, happiness, stress and more. (So yeah, just a little important.;))
I’ve talked about the benefits of probiotics before but there’s also other factors that can support gut health and digestion, like enzymes. So let’s talk digestive enzymes for a minute.
Every meal you eat contains multiple food sources – protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fiber. Your body makes enzymes to break down these foods, but there are times our system could use a little help with digestion (like all those summer barbecues).
What exactly are enzymes?
Enzymes are proteins that control and speed up reactions in the body – our body’s natural digestive enzymes’ role is specifically to help break down food into smaller parts so that our bodies can absorb and utilize them. For example, they help break proteins into amino acids (the “building blocks” of protein) and carbohydrates into simple sugars like glucose. There are tons of enzymes used in the digestive process, each with a specific job or action.
(Curious if something is an enzyme? It usually ends in the suffix “-ase”, like lactase, sucrase, or lipase. Some other enzymes that get a lot of attention but break this rule are papain and bromelaine, from papaya and pineapple, respectively. )
Many enzymes are produced in the gut lining of the small intestine (as well as the pancreas, salivary glands, stomach, and liver) which is another reason why keeping your gut healthy is so important. (Supporting a health gut can mean things like eating quality prebiotics and probiotics, or using a supplement to help such as Renew Life® Digest Smart Enzymes.)
What can affect adequate enzyme function?
Certain diseases can affect the production of enzymes and sometimes chemicals can get in the way and block their action. Other causes include low stomach acid, inflammation, aging, and chronic stress. (What, stress with a busy social calendar?! Certainly not uncommon.) Failing to adequately break down and digest the food we eat can lead to those uncomfortable post-meal sensations like gas and bloating.
Even though your body makes it’s own enzymes, an enzyme supplement like Renew Life® Digest Smart Enzymes, which contains 25 plant-based, raw enzymes, can provide powerful digestive support when you need it the most, like after eating a third helping of your neighbor’s famous apple pie piled with homemade whipped cream at the end of school neighborhood block party. Taking enzymes before your meal can help break down a variety of foods and dispel gas. If you’re using a supplement, it’s important that it contains multiple enzymes since remember, each one has a different function. This formula helps breakdown proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber*, and it’s specifically designed to support the digestion of the most problematic foods*.
While enzymes can help with the occasional gas, bloating, or indigestion, you should always check with a doctor if you have a specific condition, as food allergies and gut conditions should be addressed separately.
You can also help minimize bloating and discomfort by taking some natural, preventative measures, like drinking plenty of fluids, eating smaller portions, chewing your food thoroughly, eating at a relaxed pace, and exercising regularly (or even taking a slow stroll after a meal).
So as you start to pack your spring with fun events like barbecues, parties, and concerts, don’t forget to keep supporting that healthy gut, since it plays a role in so much of your overall wellbeing, from your immune system to your mood.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
[[Just a reminder, this is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Renew Life Digest Smart Enzymes.]]