Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are similar conditions in which the colon is affected with areas of severe inflammation causing bloody diarrhea, cramping and straining. Researchers suspect that either autoimmune reactions or heredity may cause these disorders. However, certain natural treatments, such as adding enzymes to one’s diet, help food digest more efficiently and may alleviate symptoms. Although enzymes are a natural part of healthy digestion, always consult your healthcare practitioner before using supplements to treat serious diseases.
Prebiotics are non-digestible food fibers that trigger the production and activity of friendly bacteria in the intestines. Prebiotics consist primarily of complex carbohydrates that coat the mucus membranes and protect the intestines and colon from harmful organisms that may contribute to ulcerative colitis, IBS, Crohn’s, and other bowel disorders. For example, better digestion of carbohydrates occurs with the addition of the enzyme amylase, which is made in the pancreas and also found in saliva. By consuming various foods high in prebiotics, you will add healthy bacteria to protect against ulcerative colitis and stimulate the production of the amylase enzyme. This speeds the breakdown of all carbohydrates, helping your body eliminate them more efficiently.
Prebiotic carbohydrates are found in foods such as bananas, all berries, oatmeal, garlic, whole grains, tomatoes, flaxseed, onions, artichokes and leafy green vegetables like dandelion greens, spinach, chard, collards and mustard greens. Additional foods containing prebiotics are legumes, wheat and barley. However, if you are allergic to wheat and gluten, avoid both wheat and barley, which are high in gluten.
All pancreatic enzymes assist digestion, and protease is produced to aid specifically in the digestion of proteins. If there is a shortage of protease, protein digestion may be compromised and foods may pass through the colon undigested. This may contribute to increased attacks of irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. Taking supplements containing pepsin may help increase protein digestion. Pepsin is found both in human and animal enzymes and is often included in commercial enzyme preparations. Vegetarians who prefer non-animal enzyme sources can substitute bromelain for pepsin. Bromelain comes from pineapples and is particularly helpful for protein digestion.
The enzyme lipase facilitates fat breakdown. Lipase is responsible for digesting all fats and triglycerides. Adding digestive enzyme supplements containing lipase to your diet helps to protect your intestines from the build up of excess, undigested fats, which may aggravate the bowel. Besides taking supplements that include lipase, consider adding certain foods high in lipase to your diet, such as organic milk from goats, cows and sheep. Butter made from organic, raw milk is high in healthy cultures and lipase, and is available at health food stores. Be sure you get raw daily products from a reputable source, and consume them within 48 hours of purchase to protect against spoilage.
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