They might not receive the same attention as vitamins and minerals, but enzymes are essential components to the formula of maintaining a healthy body.
Benefits of Enzymes
Enzymes are complex, specialized proteins in raw food. They speed up and amplify the chemical processes in our bodies; everything from digesting the foods we eat, to daily tissue and bone maintenance. Enzymes have the same effect on our bodys biological process as lighter fluid does on a fire. A little bit gets it going and a lot really makes it roar.
There are many enzymes and they all act as catalysts for biological processes in the body. The spectrum of enzymes is quite diverse and our bodies require many to operate effectively. Because the chemical reactions that individual enzymes facilitate are usually a small part of a larger process, deficiencies can wreak havoc throughout the entire body.
For example, the purpose of the enzyme lactase is to break down lactose found in dairy products. Without a sufficient amount of lactase, the body becomes lactose intolerant. Many people who suffer from lactose intolerance will tell you it’s no hangnail.
It’s one thing to know enzymes are beneficial, it’s another thing to actually consume enough of them. One barrier to ingesting enough enzymes through diet is that enzymes are incredibly fragile and don’t hold up well under cooking temperatures. Unless you’re eating raw food, you’re probably not getting enough enzymes from food sources.
David Wolfe explains enzymes and raw food.
Sources of Enzymes
The obvious solution is to regularly consume a wide variety of organic plant-sourced foods in their raw, natural state. Fruits, nuts, and vegetables aren’t just great sources of vitamins and minerals, they’re excellent sources of natural enzymes. Adding them to your diet ensures your body has access to enzymes and enzyme precursors.
Sprouted grain products are another fantastic source of enzymes. I also recommend yogurt, and honey. Jennifer Sexton, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, recommends naturally fermented foods, like sauerkraut or kefir. Many foods contain enzymes and it really is easy to plan them into your snacks and meals in a diverse way.
If you’re not ingesting enough enzymes in your diet or have digestive issues, supplemental enzymes may be beneficial. The product VeganZyme is a great source of vegan based enzymes. It contains a broad spectrum of digestive and systemic enzymes and I personally take it regularly.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM