Digestive enzymes are proteins that help to break down food into smaller molecules that can be absorbed by the body. There are several types of digestive enzymes, each of which plays a specific role in the digestion process.
Proteases are enzymes that break down proteins into smaller peptides and amino acids. They are found in foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, as well as in supplements such as bromelain (found in pineapples) and papain (found in papayas).
Lipases are enzymes that break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. They are found in foods such as avocados, nuts, and seeds, as well as in supplements such as pancreatin.
Amylases are enzymes that break down carbohydrates into simpler sugars such as glucose. They are found in foods such as grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as in supplements such as alpha-amylase.
Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. Lactose intolerance occurs when people do not produce enough lactase and are unable to properly digest lactose.
Cellulase is an enzyme that breaks down cellulose, a component of plant cell walls that cannot be digested by human. It is found in some supplements and fermented foods.
Many foods also contain invertase, an enzyme that converts sucrose into glucose and fructose.
Finally, it is important to note that cooking and processing can destroy enzymes present in foods, thus it is best to consume them raw. Also, some natural foods like raw honey or sauerkraut are also great sources of enzymes as it goes through fermentation process.
It's important to note that a healthy gut should have a good balance of the different types of enzymes, and the body also produces enzymes on its own to aid digestion. Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is a great way to ensure that you're getting enough enzymes to aid in digestion.