Reviewed by Dr Jessica Gunawan and Salome Tham
5 Reasons Why People Go on an Enzyme Diet
Published | 4 min read
An enzyme diet links to multiple health benefits. Learn how to improve your health by consuming these specific foods.
The chances of people knowing what an enzyme diet is are slim to none. A possible reason for this is insufficient knowledge about the importance of consuming enzyme-rich foods.
To put it simply, enzymes are proteins that speed up metabolism. Our bodies produce enzymes naturally, but you can also get enzymes by consuming foods and health supplements.
Here are five reasons why a diet that prioritises the consumption of enzyme-rich foods is essential for living a healthy, enjoyable life.
5 Must-Know Reasons Why You Should Consider an Enzyme Diet
You can divide enzymes into three types: digestive and metabolic enzymes, and enzymes in natural foods.
Alleviates muscle soreness
Proteolytic enzymes (protease) can help ease muscle soreness after an intense workout. The use of a health supplement that combines amylase, cellulose, lactase, lipase, and protease revealed significant reductions in pain and tenderness after exercise.
Another study found that ingesting a capsule that contains bromelain, rutoside (quercetin) and trypsin effectively suppresses the after-effects of marathon running. Examples of these are inflammation, muscle damage and soreness, and susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). These negative physiological consequences can delay muscle recovery post-marathon.
Encourages healthy digestion
Enzymes play a pivotal role in breaking down the food you consume into energy. For instance, the enzymes in your pancreas, saliva, stomach, and intestines can break down the food you consume into nutrients. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are responsible for cell repair and growth.
An animal study learned that actinidin (proteolytic enzyme) – a type of soluble protein – from green kiwifruit increases gastric emptying and promotes the digestion of certain protein-rich foods.
Separately, an oral intake of bromelain – a group of enzymes found in pineapple fruit and stem – can also reduce inflammation elsewhere in the body such as ulcerative colitis.
Potentially lowers your risk of cancer
Interestingly, bromelain also demonstrates the ability to inhibit the growth of colon and stomach cancer cells. It’s also crucial to introduce new systemic modalities in the treatment of malignant diseases like bile duct cancer.
Extracts of pineapple and papaya – bromelain and papain, respectively – have anti-tumour activities. Bromelain is more effective in suppressing bile duct cancer as compared to papain.
Promotes healthy weight loss
Supplementing your diet with enzyme-rich foods can support weight loss. Still, you can only achieve sustainable body mass management by practising a balanced lifestyle. These include consuming a healthy diet, avoiding junk foods, and engaging in regular physical activity.
It’s also necessary for you to ensure equal amounts of digestive and metabolic enzymes in the body. Take the consumption of cooked meals, for example. Eating cooked food will lead to your body producing large amounts of digestive enzymes.
Consequently, this lessens your body’s supply of metabolic enzymes, thus impairing the detoxification and metabolism functions of the body. Ultimately, toxins will accumulate in your body and result in severe health outcomes.
Likewise, consuming enzyme-rich foods can help digestion and reduce the body’s load of producing digestive enzymes. Doing so will also enhance the function of metabolic enzymes in the body to promote the metabolism of fats, toxins, and waste products.
Helps speed up post-surgery recovery
Serrapeptase supplements also have the ability to hasten post-surgery recovery. The enzyme is extracted from silkworms and is commonly used in different parts of Europe and Asia.
Usually, a type of protein called fibrin will coat injured muscles and joints, protecting them from further damage. Occasionally, too much fibrin will aggravate pain, inflammation, and scar tissue.
It’ll also utilise the space in which living tissue grows. Serrapeptase can aid the healing process by digesting the excess fibrin.
Helps relieve constipation
According to Chinese and Western medicine physician Wang Jingduo, constipation can be categorised as habitual constipation or organic constipation. Habitual constipation relates to lifestyle habits, while organic constipation involves conditions like colorectal tumours, rectal cancer, intestinal obstruction, adhesions or tuberculosis.
The use of enzyme products that contain ingredients like senna leaves and cassia seeds can help do away with constipation by stimulating intestinal peristalsis and encouraging bowel movement.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that constipation stems from a poor flow of qi (vital life force), blood, yin (passive energy) and yang (active energy) imbalances, and heat accumulation in the large intestine.
A herbal prescription with a laxative effect – run chang pills – which contains the peach kernel, hemp seed, Chinese angelica root, notopterygium, rhubarb and Aplotaxis Auriculata compound pills (mu xiang bing lang wan, 木香槟榔丸) can address the blood and qi stagnation respectively.
Consuming a spleen nourishing soup can help warm the yang, the spleen and stomach. Hemp seed pills can dispel the heat and moisturise in the intestines, especially for people with heat accumulation in the large intestine.
It’s possible to improve your quality of life by consuming an enzyme diet. Though, you must take heed of probable drug interactions. Do consult a clinical and TCM physician beforehand. This will help you identify foods that are suitable for consumption and unique to your individual body constitution.
- IFT. 2017. Enzyme blend may help recover from muscle soreness. [online] [Accessed 11 January 2022]
- BMC. 2014. The effects of oral hydrolytic enzymes and flavonoids on inflammatory markers and coagulation after marathon running: study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. [online] [Accessed 11 January 2022]
- Cleveland Clinic. Enzymes. [online] [Accessed 11 January 2022]
- National Library of Medicine. 2014. Actinidin from kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Hayward) increases the digestion and rate of gastric emptying of meat proteins in the growing pig. [online] [Accessed 11 January 2022]
- US National Library of Medicine. 2016. Potential role of bromelain in clinical and therapeutic applications. [online] [Accessed 11 January 2022]
- SERRAPEPTASE ONLINE. 2016. How You Can Help Your Post Surgery Recovery. [online] [Accessed 11 January 2022]
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