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Enzymes, What are they good for?

September 19, 2014

avocado, avocados

We’ve all hear about enzymes, but what do you really know about them? Enzymes are a substance produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to speed up biochemical reactions. Enzymes in the body act as engineers and are involved in every process of the body. However most people think about enzymes as it relates to digestion where enzymes breakdown food starting in the mouth all the way down to the stomach, pancreas and intestines and convert it into usable energy.

mango, mangoesAlthough there are hundreds of thousands of enzymes in the body at any given time, it is vital to continually replace enzymes through the food we eat or through enzyme supplementation. There are over two dozen digestive enzymes which breakdown food into tiny particles that can be converted into energy. Undigested food has no way of delivering us the energy stored within it. That’s where enzymes come in. But without the necessary enzymes, leftover food particles stay in the gut until they can be consumed by bacteria. This can lead to digestive troubles like gas, bloating, belching or worse. That’s why it’s necessary to keep a continual replenishment of enzymes into the body.

pineapple, pineapplesDigestive enzymes aid digestion starting the minute you put a piece of food in your mouth. Each enzyme is specific to a particular compound which it breaks down of synthesizes.  There are three major categories for digestive enzymes: proteases break down proteins, amylase digests carbohydrates, and lipase breaks down fats (lipids). Food enzymes are derived solely from raw fruits and vegetables and supplemental sources.

ginger, ginger rootThere are many things that can affect the amount of enzymes in the body. Eating refined or processed foods can reduce the amount of enzymes in the body. Enzymes come from living organisms. Processed foods are prepared and manufactured using chemicals, additives and preservatives to increase their shelf life. They don’t provide enzymes to the body, nor is the body able to break down these materials easily or at all. Cooking temperatures can also destroy enzymes leaving foods enzyme deficient. Stress, illness, environmental toxins, aging, and genetic s also affect the enzyme amounts in the body and decrease enzymes production

yogurtNutritious and raw foods such as fruits and vegetables support nutrient absorption because they contain enzymes which will replenish the body. By eating foods containing enzymes you keep your body working at an optimal level because your enzymes will be continually replaced. Fruits that contain high quantities of enzymes include avocado, banana, kiwi, mango, melon, papaya, and pineapple. Vegetables, herbs and grains include raw garlic, ginger root, raw onion, sprouts, and wheat germ. Also included are fermented or cultured foods such as kefir, kimichi, sauerkraut, and yogurt.