I have been asking all of you to soak your nuts and seeds, sprouts and beans before you consume them. Today, I learned the exact reason why. In their natural state, they contain enzyme inhibitors meaning they can block the functioning of enzymes. Enzymes are catalysts that help you break down the nutrition in your food – protein, carbohydrates or fats into energy. Lipase breaks down fats, protease breaks down proteins, and amylase breaks down carbohydrates.

As you age, your ability to produce these enzymes slows down. The slowing down of the production of enzymes is the reason your ability to digest food (also known as metabolic function) slows down with age. Your stomach, blood, intestines and adipose tissues are the stores for lipase. However, most of the digestive lipase is released by the pancreas. Common symptoms of low levels of lipase include indigestion, gas, bloating and a feeling of having over eaten especially after a meal rich in fats. Also, since it is lipase that helps in digesting fats, the absence of this enzyme leads to elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. High cholesterol can result in cardiovascular diseases. Similarly, if you are trying to lose weight, lipase matters as it helps digest fat. You want healthy levels of lipase as its effects help alleviate the risks of diabetes, cancer and other degenerative diseases of the brain and nervous system, pancreatitis, fatty liver and a host of other diseases.

Eating raw, unheated unrefined fats, coconut or whole avocado, nuts and seeds like almonds, cashew, chestnuts and pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds helps your body obtain lipase. Counter intuitively, eating healthy fats is helping you obtain the enzyme that will help you lose fat.

Many experts including Doctors ask you to reduce your fat intake when they see elevated levels of triglycerides. Perhaps you might want to have a word with them about the choices you are making.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.