Enzymes are something that we might not give too much thought to, but they are a very important part of our digestive and general health system. They are the force that allows our body to digest and absorb food. We need them to to regulate every biochemical and metabolic process in our bodies. If we have insufficient enzymes, we are more likely to suffer from the symptoms of heartburn, bloating, indigestion, chronic fatigue, high cholesterol, heart disease, intestinal and colon problems, constipation or even chronic constipation. These last two conditions can be a major cause for hemorrhoids
and/or anal fissures.
Some easy ways to increase your enzymes, naturally
- Change to eating as many raw and whole foods as possibly while cutting down or eliminating processed foods from your diet. The optimum level of raw food in your diet that you should aspire to is a high 75%. That means mixing the raw / organic / natural foods with whatever you consider your core diet. The good news is that all raw food include enzymes - but the highest level are found in sprouted seeds and legumes, followed by papaya (paw paw), pineapple, mango, kiwi, grapes, avocado, raw honey, bee pollen, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, raw sauerkraut and raw dairy. These are all delicious foods to include in your diet and you should have no trouble in enjoying them. However, it is not always easy to get hold of raw dairy (that is "unpasturized") everywhere although mature cheese from raw milk is more readily available.
- Another way to ensure you are getting plenty of raw vegetables in your diet is to juice them . For example, a base of coconut water along with some spinach, collards, mustard and kale and anything else you care to include will give you a healthy and enzyme-rich smoothie. Vary your recipe according to veggies, putting together those that are a similar color and even some fruits that are available to give your special drink a more attractive color. Low-speed masticating juicers like the omega 8005 and 8006, which press and squeeze rather than grind the vegetables to free up the juice, are the best for making juices without harming the fragile enzymes. Oxidation can damage enzymes too, so drink your veggie juices soon after you make them.
- However, there are several examples of foods that require cooking. Not many of us would be happy to eat raw meat however organic and free range it might be. Starchy foods such as potatoes, beans, and lentils are made more digestible by cooking. The nutritive value of the protein in legumes such as soya beans, lima beans, lentils and chick peas is also improved by cooking. Heating these foods destroys substances that would otherwise interfere with the digestibility of the protein. Other substances in soya beans, kidney beans and lentils can produce toxic effects unless cooked prior to eating.
- Eating fewer calories and generally reducing your overall food consumption is another way you can ensure that you lower your body's demand for enzymes, as having to digest too much uses a lot of energy and of course more of those important enzymes. If you can reduce your need for digestive enzymes, your body will be able to put more of its energy into producing metabolic enzymes instead.
- Learn to eat your food more slowly and to chew thoroughly. The act of chewing stimulates saliva production and so the more time you spend chewing, the longer your saliva enzymes have to work in your mouth. This in turn lessens the workload on both your stomach and your small intestine.
If you are concerned about your level of enzymes, there are some encapsulated or powdered phytonutrient formulas you can use while you are building up your own levels of enzymes.
- If you are a chewer of chewing gum, try to wean yourself of this habit. There are several reasons why chewing gum is not the healthiest of pursuits. Chewing gum fools your body into believing it is digesting something, so it spends all the time you are chewing, supplying digestive enzymes and wasting them on something unessential. At the same time, chewing gum contains either sugar or artificial sweetener such as aspartame. Both sugar and aspartame are harmful to your health.