There are enzymes in every living animal and plant cell. They are, in fact, the main motivators of every natural biochemical process. Without enzymes, there would be no life. They are that essential. Three groups of enzymes are:
- Food enzymes: these exits in raw food and when someone includes then in a diet, begins the digestion process
- Digestive enzymes: these are produced when the body breaks down your foot into tiny particles that can be carried through your cell's wall
- Metabolic enzymes: these are produced by the body to carry out complex biochemical reactions of many sorts
Benefits of Enzymes in Food
1. Promote Food Digestion
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of enzymes in your food is their ability to help you PREDIGEST your food. This means, the enzymes will start to break down the food before your body gets the chance to do it. To give you a better idea: enzymes in raw food can digest anywhere from 5% to 75% of the food without the help of other enzymes that your body produces for this function.
This means that plant enzymes can significantly help enhance the digestion process, even for those with poor digestive systems. A diet that is rich with enzymes can boost your energy levels and give you a lot more stamina. It can also help encourage weight loss, help you get better skin and simply increase your overall health.
2. Fight Diseases
Fruits and vegetables eaten raw can help fight off cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and many other diseases according to the Mayo Clinic. By eating more raw food, you will get more enzymes to help your body in its basic functions. The older you get, the weaker your body becomes which is way eating raw food can be so helpful, as it takes the pressure off your other organs for a while, especially the pancreas.
List of Enzyme-rich Foods
1. Raw Fruits
- Papaya. Papaya is one of the best sources for the protease enzymes in food. The pup of the papaya contains the papain enzyme which is known to be a cleansing enzyme that helps clean skin. It can also be used to make meat tenderer, and is sold in tablets to help aid in the digestion of any protein-rich meals. However, too much of anything is bad for you and papaya is no exception. Side effects brought on by eating too much papaya include: nausea, diarrhea, bloating and indigestion.
- Kiwifruit. The kiwifruit if one of the best sources for the proteolytic enzymes in food. The enzyme in the kiwifruit is called actinidin and it ads in the digestion of protein (meats, etc.). However, it should be noted that some people may have allergic reactions to actinidin, where symptoms include diarrhea and nausea. Only consume if you know that you are not allergic to kiwifruits, and either way make sure you don't eat too many.
- Pineapple. Pineapple is one of the best sources for the bromelain enzymes in food. This type of protease enzyme also helps breakdown protein. It is also used to help cure arthritis and has many antioxidant properties which help keep you healthy and free from common colds and viruses.
- Other Raw Fruits. There are loads of other fruits rich in enzymes like: bananas, dates, guavas, mango, grapes, melon and figs.
Sprouts are possibly one of the best enzyme-rich foods you can eat. Some sprouts, such as bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts and lentil sprouts can contain as much as 60 percent more vitamin C and30 percent more B vitamins than is found in the seed. Before cooking sprouts, wash them thoroughly as sprouts can be repositories of E. coli and salmonella bacteria.
3. Raw Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are great, as they contain lipase, an enzyme that helps break down fats. Even though your pancreas already makes lipase to help break down the food, depending on your diet you could be putting too much strain on it. By eating raw nuts and seeds, you can be taking some pressure off it.
Note: Roasting or frying the nuts/seeds kills all the enzymes. You want to eat them raw. Some examples include: coconut (NOT the oil), flaxseed, germinated tree nuts and unrefined oils.
4. Raw Vegetables, Grains, and Herbs
As a general rule, the greener and leafier your vegetables are the better. Spinach, lettuce and fenugreek are just some of the healthiest that are high in chlorophyll and have loads of enzymes and antioxidants that can help improve your overall health. There are some great herbs and spices you can use that also aid in digestion like ginger and peppermint leaves.
While nuts and seeds help you digest fat, fruits and vegetables are great to help you digest carbohydrates. The main enzyme for carbohydrate digestion is amylase which can be found in our saliva. This enzyme breaks the carbohydrates into simpler sugars that can be converted into energy. Remember, for total benefits of this enzyme and any other, you have to eat the food raw otherwise they disappear with cooking.
5. Animal Organs
Animal organs also help dissolve any fibrin that covers any abnormal cells and helps reduce blood stickiness with the chymotrypsin enzymes in food. They also contain pancreatian which helps improve your digestive system, especially in older people.
6. Yogurt and Unpasteurized Milk
Plain yogurt is a great source of the good types of bacteria. It is both antiviral and antibacterial and helps protect your digestive system as well as increase your immunity.
Unpasteurized milk contains lactase, the enzyme that helps break down milk protein lactose. People with lactose intolerance aren't able to make enough lactase, which is why unpasteurized milk is ideal as it contains its own lactase.
7. Raw Honey
Honey contains the enzyme amylase, which your body uses to digest carbohydrates. However, it's important to note that not all honey is beneficial. You want to buy the organic, raw kind.
Tips for Eating Enzyme-rich Foods
By filling your system with enzymes, you are actually strengthening your immune system and building walls against disease and illness. Enzymes also aid in the digestion process, which helps remove strain on other digestive organs and your pancreas.
According to studies, cooking foods above 116 degrees F destroys food enzymes. Cooking is also known to make food more difficult to digest which allows fats/proteins/carbohydrates to clog your arteries and intestinal tract.
Try to eat vegetable and fruit salads, or even make fresh juices, as often as possible for the most enzymes. Now that you understand the importance and benefits if vegetables and fruits, make sure you avoid processed foods as much as you can. There is a reason why more and more people are changing their dietary habits and opting for more natural and organic options.