The Top 11 Natural Digestive Enzyme Foods for Gut Health: Tips Guide | 1MD Nutrition™

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The Top 11 Natural Digestive Enzyme Foods for Gut Health: Tips Guide

Digestive enzymes are key to maintaining gut health and aiding the digestive process. These 11 foods are high in natural enzymes that promote healthy digestion.

By 1MD Nutrition Editorial Staff

6 minute read

Last Updated March 30, 2022

11 Foods Rich in Digestive Enzymes

Your digestive health is critical to the state of your entire body's well-being. The microbiome balance of your gut directly connects to the health of your brain and your immune system. If your gut is in disarray, chances are that your health is also.

If a person is able to optimize the digestion of their food, this exponentially decreases their chance of pain, discomfort, and complications. One effective way of promoting a healthy microbial balance of your intestinal tract is by starting a broad-spectrum probiotic supplement regimen, ensuring the bad bacteria doesn't go rogue and take over.

Another equally important aspect of digestive health is providing essential digestive enzymes, which aid us in breaking down our food into easily absorbed nutrients. Plant-based digestive enzymes, taken in conjunction with probiotics, help heal the gut from the inside, allowing your body to take full advantage of the nutritious food you're eating.

There are, of course, natural ways that people can support their digestive health and get the digestive enzymes they need in their system. There are terrific fruits and vegetables rich in digestive enzymes that will aid in the digestive process.

These special digestive enzymes help break down food and even hard-to-process parts of ingredients such as proteins. But those are not the only ways of getting the enzymes you need.

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These 11 foods should be consumed regularly to promote healthy digestion and remain flush with healthful digestive enzymes.

1. Kefir

This food has a similar texture to yogurt but is not as creamy. This particular drink is made from milk, fermented enzymes, and yeast. It contains the enzymes that a person needs for healthy digestion and additional gut-friendly bacteria. There is more of this natural bacteria in kefir than in most yogurt.

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2. Bananas

Bananas are known for their rich potassium content, but there are additional benefits to eating bananas. Bananas contain the enzymes amylase and maltase.

Amylase is naturally found in saliva and is able to break down foods, including carbohydrates. Maltase is able to break down the malt sugars in the body and allow the digestive system to easily process these foods.

3. Soy Sauce

This condiment is often used to add a touch of saltiness to foods, but there is much more to its sauce than just flavor. It is made by fermenting soybeans with water, salt, yeast, and wheat. Its enzymes assist the body with breaking down proteins and carbohydrates. When selecting soy sauce, look for brands that do not contain artificial colors, as the coloring contains no nutritional value at all.

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4. Pineapples

This fruit contains a compound called bromelain. This compound is able to support healthy cell growth and helps support proper digestion. The fruit contains cysteine proteinases, which are able to help the body break down and easily digest protein. This enzyme will also help with the coagulation of blood and may be able to slow down the growth of a cancerous tumor.

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5. Avocados

This superfood has a number of health benefits, but most are unaware of the benefits of digestion. This food has a high level of healthy fat, and it also contains lipase, a digestive enzyme used to help break down fat in your digestive tract. Proper fat digestion can help reduce the occasional symptoms of indigestion.

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6. Bee Pollen

Bee pollen has just about everything that the human body needs to be healthy. It certainly has a number of digestive enzymes. In fact, bee pollen has over 5,000 different enzymes. The enzymes in bee pollen and honey help support the immune system and digestion. Bee pollen can be added to a number of different foods, including oatmeal, smoothies, and cereal. The health benefits are incredible.

7. Papayas

This fruit contains proteolytic enzymes and the enzyme papain. This will help keep the digestive system healthy and functioning properly. Papayas are considered to be one of the most effective foods and can aid in the digestion of meats and other tough-to-digest proteins. There are also a number of potent cleansing properties in this fruit. Not only is it full of enzymes, but its seeds are also healthy.

8. Sauerkraut

Foods that have been fermented have long been known to support gut and digestive health, and sauerkraut is one of the most common and best foods for supporting functionality throughout the digestive process. Since sauerkraut is not cooked or heated, it is rich in many digestive enzymes. Raw sauerkraut is a top choice since it has not gone through the pasteurization process, which tends to reduce the number of enzymes it contains.

9. Miso

Miso is a paste that is common in Asian dishes and many restaurants around the country. The paste is made from the fermentation of soybeans, rice or barley, and salt. The fermentation promotes a healthy community of digestive enzymes that aid and support your digestion. This paste can be added to a number of dishes for some extra flavor, and the health benefits that it offers are almost too great to list.

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10. Kiwi

This fruit may be small, but it brings powerful health benefits to the table when it pertains to your digestive system function. This fruit contains an enzyme known as actinidin, which will help break down proteins found in certain foods. Actinidin is very good at helping the body break down foods, including red meat, eggs, dairy, and fish. 

11. Tempeh

Many people do not actually know what tempeh is, but once they hear how it can help with their digestive tract, they become much more interested. Tempeh is used as a meat substitute, and vegetarians consume it to help them get all of the protein they need.

This food also has natural cultures that help with digestion. It goes through its own special fermentation process, which takes soybeans and makes them into cake-like forms. Since they are fermented, they keep the natural enzymes that aid digestion and offer a slew of health benefits.

The Bottom Line

These are just some of the best foods that aid in the digestive process. These 11 foods have essential enzymes that are needed to support both digestive function and the breaking down of foods, minerals, and vitamins.

When a person is looking to promote healthy digestion, increasing the intake of foods with powerful enzymes is a great place to start. Combining the foods with a broad-spectrum probiotic will provide even further digestive support.