Digestive enzymes help us to digest food. The body produces digestive enzymes to break down the food into smaller molecules of nutrients for the intestines to absorb these nutrients into the blood and deliver throughout the body.
Digestive enzymes are essential and the body makes specific enzymes to digest and absorb different types of foods. There are three main types:
Amylase - breaks down carbohydrates
Protease - breaks down proteins
Lipase - breaks down fats
Our body produces digestive enzymes but there are many factors that affect the body's ability to produce. For example, an imbalance of pH level in the stomach and intestine, ageing, stress and fever may greatly impact the output of digestive enzyme. As a consequence, these lead to a higher tendency of indigestion with symptoms such as bloating, heartburn and acid reflux.
Common food sources include pineapple, papaya, bananas, mango and fermented soy products (e.g. miso, soy sauce, tempeh).