We all know that there are nutrients in the foods we eat, but we might forget that they can only benefit our health if we are able to absorb them. The stomach secretes digestive enzymes, but as we age, they typically diminish. Fortunately, naturally-occurring enzymes found in some foods facilitate nutrient absorption and improve digestion, helping us to get the bone-healthy vitamins and minerals we need.
Today you’ll learn about the most important digestive enzymes and which foods contain them. Having enough of these enzymes is especially important if you have gastrointestinal problems– which can lead to accelerated bone loss. However, they are critical for every Saver to maximize the bone-building power of their diet.
Gastrointestinal Health Is Critical For Bone Health
Studies show that many gastrointestinal disorders can cause bone loss that leads to fractures. A report published in the journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology explains why:
“The unique aspects of gastrointestinal diseases associated with osteoporosis include early onset of disease (and, therefore, prolonged exposure to risk factors for developing osteoporosis, particularly with inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease), malabsorption, and maldigestion of nutrients necessary for bone health and maintenance (eg, calcium, vitamin D), as well as the impact of glucocorticoids. These factors, when added to smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, hypogonadism, and a family history of osteoporosis, accumulate into an imposing package of predictors for osteoporotic fracture.”
The key phrase in that passage is “malabsorption and maldigestion of nutrients necessary for bone health.” Those outcomes of gastrointestinal diseases make them drivers of bone loss.
Addressing gastrointestinal disorders is critical for Savers. But even for Savers without digestive problems, supporting and improving digestion is an important way to prevent and reverse osteoporosis. One way you can do that is by ensuring your diet contains digestive enzymes.
There are digestive enzyme supplements for those who have pancreatic insufficiency or other gastrointestinal ailments. But if you don't have a special condition, you can rely on foods that are a naturally rich source of digestive enzymes.
Gastrointestinal diseases cause poor absorption of nutrients, which can lead to bone loss and reduction of bone health. This underscores the importance of healthy digestion for healthy bones.
All About Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes offer an effective and natural way to support your bone health. They ensure the nutrients in your diet get absorbed and can then be utilized by your body to build stronger bones.
Enzymes are compounds, often proteins, that increase the rate of chemical reactions. Digestive enzymes help your body break down the food you eat into nutrients you can absorb. There are many varieties of digestive enzymes.
- Protease enzymes break down proteins in food to their component amino acids.
- Lipase enzymes break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol, which the body can absorb and use.
- Amylase enzymes break down starches and sugars, turning complex carbohydrates into simple sugars.
You need all three to ensure your body gets the combination of nutrients it needs to build and maintain your bones. Fortunately, there are foods that provide these powerful enzymes.
Common foods contain enzymes that aid the breakdown and absorption of nutrients. The major enzymes break down proteins (proteases), fats (lipases), and carbohydrates (amylases) into smaller compounds your body can absorb and use.
Foods Containing Digestive Enzymes
Make sure you're incorporating these foods into your diet regularly. They contain a variety of essential digestive enzymes.
- Ginger – Ginger contains a protease digestive enzyme called zingibain. You may have heard that ginger helps reduce gas, bloating, and indigestion. This enzyme is the reason why. It helps move food through the digestive tract more efficiently. Ginger is an especially appealing ingredient for winter weather. It offers a warm and gentle spice to baked goods, beverages, and more.
- Mango – Mangos contain amylase. This enzyme makes it easier for your body to break down starches into absorbable carbohydrate molecules. The riper a mango is, the more active these powerful enzymes will be.
- Avocado* – Avocados contain lipase, the enzyme that helps metabolise and digest fats. That makes perfect sense, since avocados are a great source of healthy fats. They also provide Foundation Supplements like Vitamins K and C.
- Pineapple* – Pineapple contains a special compound called bromelain that consists of a mixture of enzymes that help to digest protein. These protease enzymes are critical for helping you get the protein you need to build muscle mass. Strong muscles are essential for preventing falls and for stimulating bone growth. Like many digestive enzymes, bromelain is sensitive to heat. So eat raw pineapple to get its full digestive benefits.
- Bananas* – Bananas are a great source of amylase and maltase enzymes. Maltase breaks down the malt sugar in starchy grains and veggies. Amylase breaks down complex carbohydrates. Bananas are also a great source of fiber, biotin, and potassium.
- Papaya* – Papaya contains a special protease called papain. Like bromelain in pineapples, papain is heat sensitive. So eat your papaya raw. This sweet fruit's beautiful yellow-orange color comes from its high concentration of bone-building antioxidants called carotenoids.
- Raw Honey* – Honey is rich in digestive enzymes. They include proteases that break down proteins, diastases that break down starches, and invertases that break down sugars. Processed honey is often heated during treatment, destroying those enzymes. Choose raw honey to ensure you get its digestive benefits.
*Denotes a Foundation Food
Enzyme-rich foods include ginger, mango, avocado, pineapple, bananas, papaya, and raw honey. Make sure they're part of your diet.
What This Means To You
It is truly remarkable that our diet can provide both the nutrients we need and the enzymes that help us to absorb them.
Nature is filled with resources to keep us healthy. When we understand how these systems work, we can harness them to ensure that our bones stay strong and resilient. That's why the Osteoporosis Reversal Program looks to science and nature for a holistic path to bone health, instead of relying on the tunnel-vision of Big Pharma and the Medical Establishment.
Keep eating a colorful, delicious, and varied diet, full of the foods you love. With a little intentionality, you can benefit from the joy of eating to ensure a life of action, independence, and satisfaction.