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Gut Health: Enzymes, Probiotics & Prebiotics

So now we understand that digestion begins in your mouth. What we introduce to our bodies, by way of liquid or solid, and how well we chew our foods play a big role in digestion. Did you know that 95% of your serotonin and 80% of your immune system is manufactured in your digestive system? Poor digestion opens the door to hormonal issues, weight gain, sleeping difficulties, adrenal fatigue, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, acne, low sex drive, mood swings, and food allergies which can lead to serious health issues if not treated effectively. Health issues result because the body is not absorbing live, active nourishment needed for cells to transform food into energy. This is where the importance of enzymes enters, they work as a catalyst that enables us to digest food and to absorb it into our blood.

 

Gut health is dependent on our food intake. Most of the food we eat should contain live, vital, organic elements found in fresh raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, where plant enzymes are active. Although introducing enzymes to our bodies by way of the food we eat is an essential thing, it’s also good to note that our digestive system - mouth, stomach, and small intestine, and release organs like the pancreas, gallbladder, and liver – also produces enzymes (proteins) that break down food as well. These digestive enzymes help reduce inflammation in the gut by breaking down proteins that may trigger an immune response, which can be helpful for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Digestive enzymes work well in tandem with probiotics, which are live organisms that make up the good bacteria in your gut. Probiotics help keep your digestive tract healthy, so they reinforce the work enzymes do.

 

Probiotics and prebiotics both support the body in building and maintaining a healthy colony of bacteria and other microorganisms aiding in gut health. These food components promote your gut flora by providing nutrients and creating an environment where microorganisms can flourish. Probiotics are live yeasts and good bacteria found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread, and some cheeses. Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that nourish beneficial microorganisms in the gut. They create a foundation for healthy bacteria located in the lower digestive tract to thrive. Foods that are high in prebiotics include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, such as mushrooms, artichokes, onions, asparagus, cabbage, apples, bananas, chickpeas, oats, and wheat bread.

 

Now that we have connected the importance of food and gut health, our next two blogs will cover how these foods can help balance the body.


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