You know the saying “the chicken before the egg”? (Or ,as we like to put it at Vega, “the smoothie before the blender”?) Well the same concept applies when we think about eating before we consider our digestion. We have enzymes throughout our digestive system, geared and ready to tackle whatever food we throw in it. Our main stars of this show are:
- Amylase, our carb crushing crusader
- Protease, our protein pounding phenomenon
- Lipase, our fat flattening freak
Think of these three enzymes as your three musketeers of digestion, as they play a huge role in whether what you eat gets broken down properly so your food’s nutrients can be absorbed. Basically: no breakdown, no nutrients. Anything from chronic stress to that really big meal at your family BBQ can hinder how effectively your musketeers (enzymes) are being produced. Bloating, chronic fatigue or undigested food in your poop could be signs of low enzyme production. Though not to worry, you’re the fourth musketeer in this scenario (yes, I just said you are Leonardo DiCaprio. You’re welcome.) You have many resources to assist your body in producing these delightful digestive enzymes.
Open, closed... just chew with your mouth:
We do not give our saliva enough credit. If you’ve never seen that scene in The Fly where Jeff Goldblum uses his saliva to digest his food then... good, because it’s gross. However our saliva is just as powerful, in its own relevant-to-humans way. When we don’t chew our food well enough, we often send food down into our stomach unprepared and this can cause digestive stress, possibly leading to lazy enzyme production. Next time you mow down, slow down and chew your food for at least 20 seconds. In fact, I have conveniently written this paragraph to be around the 20 second mark, so if you need to, just come back and read this over and over and over...
Pineapple + papaya = (enzyme) profit:
Papaya contains papain, and pineapple contains bromelain, both powerful sources of digestive enzymes. They’re like the plucky sidekicks who come in and support your digestive stars! I like to think of papain as my stomach’s pal and bromelain as my digestive bro. Though whichever way you slice them (I like the slice my fruit down the middle) adding these tropical beauties into your daily diet can do wonders for your digestion and seriously assist in the breakdown of food so you can absorb those nutrients. Not a lover of the native fruit? You can find papaya extract and bromelain in supplement form which can be taken daily to help your body break food down. Because you aren’t just what you eat, you’re what you digest (and assimilate!). psst... We’ve also got your back (or rather, stomach). Vega One® All-in-One Shake and Vega® Protein & Greens have papain and Vega® Essentials has bromelain, so you get more natural sources of digestive enzymes.
Make friends with ferments:
Digestion doesn’t just stop after your stomach. Our food has a long journey through our gut thereafter, and you can literally eat your way to a stronger gut with probiotic packed fermented foods! The good bacteria found in ferments and probiotics play an important role in helping your body absorb, digest and better use the food you eat once it has entered your intestinal tract. Sauerkraut, kombucha and even pickles are all examples of foods that are fermented and a little can seriously go a long way. Try adding a bite (or nine) of a fermented food into your diet daily and get that good gut bacteria on its way to do some digestive work! Don’t love the thought of chomping on a living culture? You can buy supplemental forms of healthy bacteria in a probiotic powder or pill. Bonus bite: Use Vega One® All-in-One Shake on the daily? You’re already getting 1 billion CFU probiotics in every scoop! Now get out there and empower those enzymes!