BROMELAIN and PAPAIN
It’s about time I got back to posting, Christmas was crazy this year and everything seems to be happening at once so it is nice to catch my breath and finally get back to my favourite place.
Nothing is a better example of natural foods best taken in their natural form than Bromelain and Papain, fancy names for the digestive enzymes in pineapples and papayas. When I counselled clients I would often hear complaints about indigestion or slow digesting of meals where you just felt full long after eating. It is true that as we age our digestive juices do tend to weaken so heavier meals higher in protein are slower to digest. Plus many of us dilute our stomach’s natural acids with lots of beverages as we eat. Naturally as soon as we notice a health “problem” someone is eager to make some money by offering us the fix and in some stores that fix comes in the form of “digestive enzymes” for as much as $40 a bottle. Save your money and buy the fresh pineapple or papaya because the tablets you buy at the health food store will never work as well as the slices of pineapple or papaya that you eat after a meal. In countries like Brazil and Hawaii a heavy meat meal is often followed by grilled or raw pineapple or papaya, experience has taught them the best way to digest a heavy meal.
The secret is in the enzymes. In pineapple it is called Bromelain and it breaks down (digests) meat protein. In papaya the enzyme is called Papain and it has very similar effects to Bromelain, both can be found in capsules of digestive enzymes and powdered meat tenderizers e.g. Adolphs Meat Tenderizer. Most people find the fruit versions of these enzymes to be all they need when digestion slows and most importantly the fruits do not contain any additives or boosters. The other day I saw a bottle of digestive enzymes and it also contained peppermint extract. Now dietitians know mint tends to loosen the valve at the entrance to your stomach and allows stomach acids to leak back up your esophagus and that can make acid reflux much worse. If you are having trouble digesting your meal do you really want more heartburn? Minty taste tends to make people’s mouth feel refreshed so many remedies have mint but within minutes of taking it chances are your stomach will feel much worse. When I last checked my pineapple and papaya did not come in “minty fresh” but they work just fine.
These two enzymes have been studied extensively and many claims have been made about their ability to cure serious medical conditions. When you get a chance read more about them but the only thing I can tell you for sure is what my old granny told me, you will never have trouble digesting a meal if you have some pineapple or papaya as your last course!