Raw Food enthusiasts always go back to the enzyme in support of their dietary choice. But there’s a reason for that: no diet better supports digestive enzyme activity than one that’s high in raw vegan foods. And enzymes are necessary. We need enzymes the same way that Frankenstein’s monster needed that electrical charge to give him life.
Enzymes are micro-proteins that are largely composed of amino acids. Enzymes play an indispensable role in our biology; they essentially provide the trigger for all chemical reactions that go on in our bodies from digestion , metabolism, detoxification, brain function, repair of tissues and organs to every process in between. Enzymes control the speed at which it all works. As living beings we are basically here through the courtesy of a series of enzyme reactions that allow us to think and move around and do all the things we humans do. Take away the enzymes and we couldn’t function at all..
As of this date, scientists have identified over a whopping 3000 varieties of enzymes – and many more are yet to be discovered. In fact, some experts claim that there are approximately 50000-70000 enzymes in various parts of our bodies. In principle, each organ has its own series of enzymes that serve unique functions.
Various Types of Enzymes
Digestive Enzymes: these are normally found in the mouth or the gut; they are mainly involved in digestion of food. They essentially help break down food into nutrients and eliminate by-products. These enzymes are predominantly extracellular, implying that are found and function outside of cells. Examples of digestive enzymes include amylase which breaks down carbohydrates; protease that digest proteins; lipase that acts on fats; and cellulose that act upon fiber.
Metabolic Enzymes: they metabolize nutrients/sugars to produce energy. Besides, they are involved in removal of metabolic waste. Metabolic enzymes are predominantly intracellular, implying that they are found and function inside cells.
Plant-Based Enzymes: these are important catalysts that are found in unprocessed raw plant foods as well as raw milk. Exceptions would be seeds, nuts, beans and grains that protect themselves with enzyme inhibitors and need to be soaked prior to eating and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts that contain thyroid inhibitors and benefit from cooking. If we eat raw fruits and vegetables, however, our own inherent supply of digestive enzymes gets a little break. Plant matter essentially assists in it’s own digestion. It’s like a great guest who helps clean up after a meal.
Suffice to say that if we eat a lot of raw food we are going to maintain our enzyme supply a great deal longer than we would otherwise.Which could mean the difference between keeling over at sixty-five or still thriving at ninety.
The fact is enzyme depletion is a real thing.and it is more prevalent now than ever. Enzymes are sensitive. Back in our great-grandparents days soils were rich and healthy; food was grown naturally without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Everything was organic. You didn’t have to go looking for it in some special section of a grocery store. These practices passed to the produce in terms of greater nutritional value and greater enzyme presence. Fast forward a hundred years or so: agribusiness , pasteurization, processed foods, hormones, fluoridated water, microwaves, irradiation of food and increased pollution have wreaked havoc. Nutritionally and enzymatically what we are eating now is a pale imitation of what it was.
Digestive enzyme depletion can rear it’s ugly head in the form of headaches, mood swings, fatigue, compromised immune function and a slew of intestinal and digestive disorders like bloating, constipation, food allergies and bowel and yeast infections. We don’t want any of these things, right?
Why You Should Boost Levels of Enzymes in the Body
Enzymes have been known to slow down the aging process. On the other hand, decreased production or insufficiency of enzymes leads to inflammation and build up of wastes and toxins in the body which can lead to aging. Additionally, some enzymes are known to encourage production of hormones and vitamin D which is good for your skin. That’s right; following a diet high in raw living foods that are teeming with enzymes will help you keep a radiant skin and complexion.
Keep Diseases and Illnesses at Bay
Enzymes play a role in the prevention of myriad diseases and illnesses. Lack or insufficient production of pancreatic enzymes, for example, can lead to diabetes, cancer and other destructive ailments. Some enzymes also regulate blood sugar, fatty acids and other micro-nutrients allowing you to keep a tab on hypertension, heart diseases and obesity.
Helps You Lose Weight
Metabolic enzymes facilitate the process of breaking down fats and carbohydrates to release energy. If they are inadequate or inefficient, they can lead to accumulation of sugars and fats, increasing belly fat and your overall weight.
Other benefits include:
- Better removal of toxic wastes
- Improved absorption of oxygen
- Helps with getting rid of internal blood clots
- Reduced inflammation
- Regulated Hormones
- Regulated nerve impulses
- Slowing the aging process
How to Improve Your Enzyme Levels
Anything that bolsters enzyme preserve is indispensable for your overall health and staving off aging. Who can argue with that?
That being said, here are foods and habits that can actually enhance your enzyme levels naturally.
1. Eat Plenty of Raw Food
Raw vegan foods not only have plenty of naturally-occurring enzymes but are also rife with minerals that help facilitate production of more enzymes. Individuals that stand to benefit from going raw or adopting raw food diets include those who:
- Are aged above 30 years. That’s right; if you have already hit the big 3-0, you ought to eat lots of raw fruits, veggies, and plant protein. Study after study have shown that people tend to lose 13% of enzyme reserve every 10 years. That means by the time you hit 40; you will have lost an incredible 25% of your enzyme store.
- Tend to eat microwaved, highly cooked or processed foods. By overcooking, processing or microwaving food, you are actually killing enzymes. So, a diet high in raw foods is your best shot at getting your enzyme groove back.
- Suffer from toxicity: people who struggle with too much waste and toxins in the body can benefit from an influx of enzymes. This way, you can replenish the reserve of metabolic enzymes, the catalyst known to facilitate removal of waste.
- Suffer from chronic illnesses such as high LDL level, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, digestive problem and arthritis.
That said, eating a high raw food diet rich in veggies, fruits and other good-for-you plants is paramount for keeping healthy enzyme levels.
2. Consume Plant Based Enzyme Supplements Although digestive enzymes are most readily available in raw food, if you fear that your enzyme levels may be compromised there are plenty of supplements such as papaya enzymes that can give you a boost.
3. Chew Your Food Well and Chew It Some More Chewing your food well breaks it down into smaller particles that ultimately make it easier for enzymes to do their job because the enzymes get to have a go at more of the food for a longer period of time. Every little bit counts. Digestion will be improved and the body will absorb optimal nutrition from what you eat.
4. Avoid chewing gum. Chewing gum basically tricks your body into believing that food is on its way, stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes. It’s preparing for food that never arrives in the stomach. There’s no surer way to waste your enzymes than chewing gum.
5. Fortify Your Diet with High Enzyme Foods We all know that pineapples and papayas are rich in enzymes but add mangos, kiwis, melons, grapes, avocados, sprouted seeds and legumes, fermented veggies and wheatgrass and you’ve got a veritable arsenal working for you against enzyme depletion.
We really need to go out of our way to insure that our enzymes are preserved, encouraged and protected. After all – despite all odds – they certainly do their best to help us out, don’t they?