Enzymes are special proteins.
They are essential for every chemical reaction in the body and for the normal activity of the cells, tissues, fluids, and organs.
Vitamins, minerals, hormones, and all the food we eat can do nothing without enzymes. So taking vitamins for example is a waste if your body's enzyme reserves are depleted.
Our bodies make hundreds of thousands of metabolic enzymes which are responsible for running our body's chemistry. These enzymes control breathing, thinking, talking, moving, and immunity.
Anti-oxidant enzymes are also in this category. They help quench free radicals.
Digestive enzymes digest food. All food.
Our bodies make digestive enzymes as well, mainly in the pancreas, the stomach, the small intestine, and the mouth.
There are 22 known digestive enzymes with names that end on -ase such as:
~ Amylase (digests carbohydrates);
~ Lipase (digests fats);
~ Protease (digests proteins);
~ Disaccharides (digest sugars).
Food or Plant Enzymes
They are called plant enzymes because they are only present in raw plants.
Plant enzymes are essential for proper digestion of food. Without plentiful plant enzymes in our diets, our own bodies' enzyme reserves become quickly depleted.
Enzymes are very sensitive to heat and are destroyed by cooking temperatures above 118F degrees, pasteurization, canning, and microwaving.
An important plant enzyme is Cellulase as it is not made by the human body. To digest fiber, one must chew all raw foods well in order to release the cellulase within that food.
Eating a diet rich in raw foods and/or taking enzyme supplements will not make your pancreas lazy. On the contrary, food enzymes - and only food enzymes - will spare the pancreas from having to compensate for depleted reserves and inadequate predigestion. The pancreas was never meant to be totally responsible for digestion - early humans consumed primarily raw foods.
Why Enzymes are necessary:
1. Predigestion of Food
Plant enzymes eliminate digestive problems by increasing the supply of deficient enzymes during the pre-digestion process.
2. Nutritional Support
Food enzymes help digest the foods with the needed vitamins and minerals. Without the enzymes, certain foods may not be easily digested, especially when the digestive system has been weakened by the processed refined-food diet.
3. Immune System Support
Plant enzymes also help digest and dispose of toxins in the blood stream, as well as 'eat' the protein coating on certain viruses. Thus, enzymes help reduce inflammation and any health condition associated with it.
Best Source of Enzymes
Your healthy diet.
It should be enzyme-rich, with a wide variety of organic, whole, unprocessed foods. Foods in their whole, unaltered state have the ideal ratio of enzymes needed to digest them.
For example, an apple, which is high in carbohydrates, contains more Amylase than an avocado, which has a high concentration of fat and is high in Lipase.
Most importantly, a large portion of your diet should include raw foods or, at the most, lightly steamed. Only raw foods contain enzymes.
There are a few exceptions:
1. Seeds, nuts, grains, and beans have enzyme inhibitors which must be deactivated by soaking, cooking, or sprouting;
2. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, contain thyroid inhibitors which must be deactivated by cooking.
Taking enzyme supplements may be helpful if you think, or have been diagnosed with, Enzyme Deficiency.
How to Recognize Enzyme Deficiency
If you have any of the following:
- Bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion
- Mood swings
- Poor immune function
What Causes Enzyme Deficiency
1. Polluted air, water, and food; pesticide use; and chemicals.
Just over a century ago, food was unprocessed and unrefined, grown on clean, living soil, with fresh air and pure water. It contained no preservatives, chemicals, or pesticides. Cooking techniques were simple, and the microwave nonexistent.
Today, agribusiness chemicals and pesticides destroy living soil. Dead soil creates dead food deficient in enzymes and nutrients.
2. The way we eat.
Gulping down processed food without chewing or breathing.
3. Genetic Engineering, Pasteurization, Irradiation of Food.
4. Cooking at High Temperatures and Microwaving.
5. Other pollutants such as a. heavy metals in dental fillings and b. root canals which may create a 'permanent' infection that has to be constantly combated by enzymes.