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The Importance of Enzymes for Digestion

Updated on October 28, 2012

Why Enzyme Nutrition?

Enzymes are catalysts that create chemical reactions necessary for nutrients. In digestion, enzymes are the catalysts that enable your body to draw out the nutrients from the food. Most of the food we eat today is cooked. When you cook meat and vegetables, you kill the enzymes in the food that is needed for your body to digest properly. When you do not digest food properly, not only do you have all the nasty experiences associated with poor digestion, but you also do not get the nutrients into your body that you need.

Your body needs enzymes. You may have seen information about the big push towards raw foods. Enzymes are the reason why. When you eat raw foods, your body uses the enzymes in the foods in the digestion process. Raw vegetables and fruits are great ways to get enzymes that are critical to receiving good nutrition.

The Enzyme Factor

The Enzyme Factor by Dr. Hiromi Shinya spring boarded the issue of enzyme nutrition into the public consciousness. Dr. Shinya presented years of research in his book demonstrating that many of the chronic diseases people suffer from today are linked to enzyme nutrition and the foods we eat. Dr. Shinya also argues that eating an enzyme balanced diet provides your body with the enzymes it needs to be more effective at healing itself. His book is the place to start in learning in depth about the value of enzyme nutrition for long term health.

Important Digestive Enzymes

  • Papain is an enzyme that digests animal protein
  • Bromelain digests protein and has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Lipase digests fat
  • Protease digests protein
  • Lactase breaks down sugars that come from milk
  • Cellulase digests fiber cellulose

Enzymes and Raw Foods

The raw food diet provides a higher level of nutrition over most other lifestyles of eating. In particular, it is known for the concept of getting enzymes your body needs from the raw foods you eat. Some of the core digestive enzymes that you can get from food come from pineapple, papaya, vegetables, and seeds. Some people feel that not all enzymes you consume from raw foods will make it through the digestive process to help your body's digestion system. This is true to a degree, but some of the enzymes your body is able to and does use.

If you are looking to get into a raw foods diet or increase the enzyme intake from raw foods, a good place to start is simply to increase the amount of raw fruits and vegetables you eat. This alone can make a significant impact on your health.

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