May is the Family Month in Korea, which means lots of delicious meals and dishes to indulge in. However, sometimes eating more than your usual amount can make your stomach feel heavy and bloated. Instead of reaching for digestive pills, why not try foods that contain natural digestive enzymes? These enzymes can help break down the food you eat and promote better digestion.
Here are some enzyme-rich foods that are recommended by Eatingwell, a health media outlet:
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which aids in protein digestion. This enzyme breaks down protein molecules into components such as amino acids and small peptides. It is particularly effective when eaten with meat. This is why some people blend pineapple with meat when making meat marinade, or why some restaurants serve grilled pineapple with steak.
However, bromelain can affect the tongue as well, so consuming too much pineapple may cause a slight tingling sensation.
Raw honey contains digestive enzymes such as diastases, invertases, and proteases, which aid in the digestion of starch, sugar, and protein, respectively. Therefore, consuming raw honey can be helpful for digestion. However, processed honey is often subjected to heat during processing, which can destroy the beneficial enzymes.
A simple way to use raw honey is to mix it into coffee or tea. It can also be mixed with yogurt, cereal, or other foods.
Ginger contains a compound called gingerol, which gives it a spicy taste. Gingerol stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and promotes gastrointestinal motility. People who frequently experience indigestion have food that stays in the stomach for a long time. Ginger can help reduce this time, aiding in digestion. According to research conducted by the Taiwanese Chang Gung University, people who consumed about 1 gram of ginger powder before meals had their stomach emptied 50% faster than usual.
In Korea, ginger is often ground and used in cooking. Ginger powder can be used as a seasoning during cooking, or it can be added to drinks such as ginger tea, latte, or smoothie. You can also try making a warm ginger latte by boiling milk with finely ground ginger and blending it with honey and cinnamon.
Avocado contains a digestive enzyme called lipase, which breaks down fat molecules into smaller components for better digestion. It is also high in fiber, which promotes regular bowel movements. Incorporating avocados into your meals can be a tasty way to improve digestion. Try adding avocado to your sandwiches, salads, or smoothies.
Incorporating these enzyme-rich foods into your diet can help improve digestion and reduce bloating. So next time you’re feeling heavy after a big meal, try reaching for some pineapple, honey, ginger, or avocado instead of pills. Your stomach will thank you!