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Natural Relief for Indigestion

Tuesday, 05 Oct 2010 05:27 PM


Indigestion, heartburn, gas, and bloating are so common, it might seem as though they’re an inevitable consequence of eating – but that isn’t the case. One overlooked reason for digestive upsets is lack of a basic ingredient in our food: enzymes.

Enzymes are catalysts, meaning they initiate or enable other substances to do their jobs. In digestion, enzymes are necessary for our bodies to break down food, to transport nutrients so that they can be converted into energy, and to carry away toxic wastes.

When we don’t have adequate enzymes, the whole process of using food as fuel and keeping our bodies functioning well is disturbed. As a symptom, poor digestion is just the tip of an iceberg. Lack of enzymes can manifest as low energy, brain fog, achy muscles or joints, and just about any other physical state that keeps us from being at our best.

Why Enzymes Are in Short Supply

Our bodies naturally make enzymes but they also rely on food for an additional supply. Raw foods are a plentiful source of enzymes. However, heat during cooking destroys these valuable catalysts.

People who eat a lot of raw food may be getting enough enzymes, but they aren’t the majority. Eating food too quickly also contributes to the problem, because enzymes are released in saliva as we chew. “On the go” foods short circuit that process, even when we eat raw fruits and vegetables, and add to digestive problems.

How to Improve Digestion

If you have problems and suddenly switch to a predominantly raw diet, that may cause some problems too, because that food is entering a digestive system that is already functioning below par. But there is another option: enzyme supplements.

Supplements can never replace healthy fare, so taking them isn’t a license to eat a steady diet of fast food. But if you make an effort to include fresh, uncooked items in your meals, take time to chew properly, and give your body some additional enzymes, digestion will improve.

Choosing an Enzyme Supplement

Nature invented many different enzymes and gave each one the task of breaking down a specific component of food. For example:

• Amylase breaks down starches.
• Cellulase breaks down cellulose, fiber in fruits, vegetables, grains, and seeds.
• Lactase breaks down milk sugar (lactose, which many people don’t digest well).
• Lipase breaks down fats.
• Protease breaks down proteins.

If you decide to try a supplement, look for one with a variety of enzymes. Chewable ones are available, if you don’t like swallowing pills. With either type, they should be taken just before or at the start of a meal.

In addition to being a digestive aid, enzymes are used by some natural health practitioners in tailored programs to relieve allergies, chronic pain, and other conditions, and to resolve difficulties with weight loss. One of the pioneers in this field, Ellen Cutler, offers more information about healing with enzymes at www.drellencutler.com.



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2010-27-05
Tuesday, 05 Oct 2010 05:27 PM
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