If you have read about nutritional pioneers like Dr. Robert Marshall, Ph.D., then you are aware of his well-known statements about the critical importance of good digestion and how digestive enzymes can provide immense help to your digestive system to help break down the foods you eat. But did you know they also play a lesser-known role in supporting a healthy immune system? It’s true!
Enzymes are amazing little catalysts that facilitate the digestion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You have access to enzymes in fresh, raw, non-refined foods such as raw papaya, figs, pineapple, citrus fruits, berries, and raw vegetables like leafy greens, beets, and garlic. In addition to enzymes in food, some enzymes are produced in the body as well, to help break down the foods you consume.
But how do these enzymes help boost your immune system? Researchers now confirm that more than 80% of your immune system resides in your gut due to the interactive role that gut bacteria play in the development of white blood cells that help the immune system defend against infections. This explains why the foods you eat can have such a large impact on your immune health. Intricate, natural enzymes help extract the nutrients from food so that your body can actually absorb them, rather than letting the food particles simply rot in your stomach – yuck!
The same way that enzymes help break down food and digest valuable nutrients, they can also help your gut break down unwanted microbial overgrowth or pathological strains of bacteria in the gut. Left unchecked, these undesirable microorganisms (such as viruses, yeast, fungi, bacteria, and parasites) can eventually make their way into your bloodstream and wreak havoc all over your body. The good news is that digestive enzymes can help your gut eliminate these villains before they start harming you.
When your digestive system is working properly, it serves as a barrier against bacteria, viruses, and pathogens. Your stomach acid is powerful and is able to neutralize pathogens before they can cause problems. If the composition of your stomach acid is weak or compromised, or if you are not producing enough digestive enzymes, these “bad guys” can gain entrée into the body. Without sufficient enzymes, pathogens can pass into your intestines and be absorbed into the bloodstream (called “leaky gut”).
Unfortunately, your digestive capacity decreases with age. This is because your aging enzyme-making system slowly stalls and ends up producing only half the amount of enzymes you made when you were younger. This means you may not be digesting and absorbing enough nutrients from the food to stay healthy. Additionally, lower enzymes levels can decrease the ability of your immune system to fight against infections and pathogens, and can even speed up the aging process.
So how can you boost the amount of digestive enzymes in your body? First, start by including some raw, unprocessed foods in your diet that naturally contain digestive enzymes such as organic fruits and vegetables. Second, if you struggle with digestive issues, consider adding a high-quality enzyme supplement to your nutritional regimen. The best enzyme supplements are produced from plants. Take them right before a meal to boost the best performance of your digestive enzymes.
For best digestion and glowing immune health, what a difference adding some digestive enzymes to your meals can make!