- Diet & Weight Loss
Enzymes, Nature's Miracle Workers
Enzymes are necessary for your body to function. Anything you do, whether its eating, sleeping or simply living, enzymes are there working behind the scenes, making life happen. Enzymes are found in every living cell, of every organic life-form. Whether the organism is a vegetable, animal or a human being, there is no life without the existence of enzymes. Due to the work of enzymes, grass grows, seeds sprout, flowers bloom, beer and wine ferment, and even leaves change colors in the autumn.
In a nutshell enzymes are the life-force of every cell, they start chemical reactions, or make those chemical reactions run faster. The word enzyme is derived from the Greek word, enzymos. The definition of enzymos is to be leavened or fermented. The process of fermenting milk or grapes, inspired our ancestors to begin practicing what is known as alchemy, because it was believed that fermentation was the product of some sort of magic. In modern times we know that fermentation is due to enzymes catalyzing milk into cheese. We know that enzymes catalyze every biochemical reaction that occurs within living organism.
There are six classes of enzymes. They are classified according to their function. Listed are the six different classes of enzymes.
Enzymes catalyze and regulate every biochemical reaction that occurs within your body.
Proteases: Break down the peptide bonds in proteins.
Amylases: Break down carbohydrates
Lipases: Break down fats (lipids)
Isomerases: Break down the rearrangement of chemical groups within the same molecule.
Ligases: Catalyze the formation of a bond between two substrate molecules through the use of an energy source.
Lyases: Split the double bonds between atoms with the accumulation or dissociation of chemical groups.
Oxidoreductases: Make oxidation and reduction possible.
Transferases: Transfer chemical groups from one molecule to another.
In a nutshell, this all means that each class of enzyme does a different type of catalyzing work in your body. Without enzymes you are dead, this is the plain and simple truth.
What are the sources for enzymes? Given their importance in all the processes involved in living, obtaining enough enzymes is of paramount importance. One of the main sources is the food we eat. Raw food contains the most enzymes, since cooking kills many of the enzymes originally contained in your foods. I’m not saying to start eating steaks medium rare or to go live on sushi, which could give you a host of other problems, especially parasites. What I am saying is that a great way of obtaining enzymes from the food you eat, is to ensure that your diet has plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruit are especially rich in enzymes. Fruits are best eaten alone and in the morning. Fruits are such a complete food that their digestion is quick and easy, allowing the body to function more efficiently. Vegetable are also an excellent source of enzymes and can be eaten with protein rich food such as meat, poultry or fish. Plant based enzymes are one of the most popular choices for people on the go. They are grown in a lab, and extracted from fungus and are harvested from aspergillus. Of all choices plant based enzymes are the most active. They are usually ingested in capsule form. Another popular type of enzyme is the glandular form of enzyme. These enzymes are derived from the pancreas, stomach and small intestine of an animal. Glandular enzymes require a ph balance of 8.0 to become active in one’s body. These can also be obtained in capsule form.
Than there are the enzymes secreted by our own bodies, enzymes in our bodies are produced by the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, stomach and colon. Even though our body is capable of producing enzymes for the purpose of digestion, we must not abuse our system by eating too many cooked or processed foods. We can easily deplete our natural stores of enzymes and this will in turn cause illnesses.
One would ask, what depletes enzymes? There are various factors that deplete enzymes. One would be not eating enough enzyme rich foods, such as fruits or vegetables. Another way to deplete your enzyme stores is to eat too many cooked or processed foods. These types of foods cause the body to sacrifice its own natural store of enzymes in order to compensate for the lack of enzymes in the cooked and processed food. Organic solvents also inhibit enzymes. Organic solvents are the most frequently produced chemicals in the United States, chemical such as methanol, ethanol, propenol, formic acid, benzene and butanol. These chemicals are obtained by petroleum or natural gas and are contained in paints, household cleaners, as well as, a host of other products, we all use on a regular basis.
There are some very detrimental consequences to being enzyme deficient. One of the first sign of enzyme deficiency is digestive problems, such as bloating, gas, not to mention heart burn. There also other more serious conditions that are related to enzyme deficiency such as Niemann-Pick disease, Tay-Sachs disease, and Wolman’s disease. Rapid aging is another symptom of enzyme deficiency, due to an increase in free radical formation. In fact, many diseases from acne all the way through Whiplash can be alleviate and even healed by the ingestion of certain enzymes.
The best way to restore enzymes is through diet, according to Harvey Diamond, author of the best selling nutritional book, Fit for Life, Not Fat for Life, it is recommended that each of us eat a diet of fifty percent live foods, with fifty percent dead foods. What this means, is that at least fifty percent of our diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic fruits and vegetables in conjunction with fifty percent cooked food. Fruits are the most perfect food according to Diamond. Another good way to restore enzyme balance in conjunction with a healthy diet is to take an enzyme supplement. Plant based enzymes products are by far the best choice. There are many companies that produce enzyme supplements. Companies that specialize in enzyme products tend to have a higher quality ratio. It’s like everything else; you get what you pay for. So, when buying an enzyme supplement, go for the best.
Another way of maintaining a positive balance of enzymes in your body, as well as ensuring a proper digestion is to food combine. One should be aware, that the body uses different types of enzymes, for digesting proteins and for digesting starches. Proteins and starches should never be eaten at the same meal. Starches require enzymes that are alkaline; therefore starches should only be eaten with other vegetables. Proteins on the other hand, require enzymes that are acidic, and therefore should only be eaten with non starchy vegetables such as green salad or other colorful vegetables. Never eat meats, poultry or fish with rice, potatoes or beans, this will result in an incomplete digestion of your food, and could result in leaky gut syndrome, or at the very least heartburn. Fruits have a unique set of enzymes and should be eaten alone, and are best eaten in the morning, when your body is still in the elimination phase of your digestive cycles. Water should be consumed either before meals or half an hour later for best digestion. A great book to get on food combining is The Complete Book of Food Combining by Jan Dries and Inge Dries. This book will answer many question concerning food combining and digestion. The book also has a recipe section to help with menu planning.
I can say from personal experience, that food combining works. Last June I was struggling to lose weight and the suddenly one night I came across Gillian McKeith's book, You are What You Eat in the book there was a chapter on food combining for effective weight loss. I decided to give it a try. The next morning I had the warm lemon water, a half hour later I had a bowl of just fruit, about one hour later I had my high protein shake. For lunch I combined my starches with only vegetables and for dinner I had fish with green salad. The next day I was amazed at the scale, I weighted two pounds less. I kept food combining after that and managed to loose a total of twenty pounds. I had an energy level that I couldn't believe, and I slept like a baby. Yes food combining does work.
One must also eat in accordance with one’s digestive cycles. The body has three digestive phases, lasting eight hours each, the first phase takes place at 4Am and last till noon. This phase is called the elimination phase. The elimination phase is when the lymphatic system is most at work collecting toxin from your body. To aid your lymphatic system it is important that one not overload the body with a compromised digestion. Therefore, to ensure that the body digest food effortlessly from 4AM to noon it is wise to only eat fruit or a very light, well combined meal. The next phase is the appropriation phase; this phase takes place between noon and 8PM. The appropriation phase is the best time to do all your eating. The last phase is the assimilation phase; this takes place from 8PM to 4AM. The assimilation phase is when the intestines extract the nutrients from the food you had eaten that day. To assure a proper assimilation of nutrients it is best to eat your last meal, at least three hours before this phase begins. Try to never eat anything after eight, because it could hinder this phase and cause incomplete nutrient absorption.
Enzymes they are nature’s miracle workers. Yet, in order for them to do their magic, we must be conscious of how our body works. We must make an effort to take care of what goes in our bodies, how our food is prepared, what type of equipment we use to prepare our foods, when we eat, and how we combine our meals. All of these are factors in making sure that one has an abundant supply of enzymes in one’s body and therefore a more abundant life.