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What are Digestive Enzymes?

Posted by Ashley on 6/14/2015 to Food & Recipes
Let’s talk enzymes. Enzymes are more important to your health and your body’s digestive system than most people realize. We have enzymes in our saliva, helping us get the digestive process started before we even swallow. We also have enzymes in our pancreas and stomach which complete the process of separating out the nutrients in the food we consume. Though we are able to make our own enzymes, there are some that we don’t automatically produce. 

To our luck, those enzymes are provided to us directly from the food we eat. Raw food to be exact. Vegetables, fruits, nuts. Eating raw fruits and vegetables is a great way to get the digestive enzymes into your body that you need to properly digest food and benefit more fully from the nutrients in that food. Why raw food? Digestive enzymes are damaged by heating over 107 degrees, so when you cook your vegetables you are actually leeching out some of the good vitamins that you need. Of course, some cooked vegetables provide other types of nutrients. 

For example, cooking tomatoes releases lycopene, an antioxidant that has proven to lower the risk of prostate, lung, and stomach cancer. There are benefits to baking, boiling, and grilling your garden fare, just don’t forget that going raw for at least one serving a day helps keep your digestive system in tip-top shape. It’s also important to mention that eating a variety of different types of raw foods, since different foods provide different enzymes. 

For example, papaya (fruit) contains several different types of enzymes, including caricain and chymopapain, while a handful or raw almonds (protein) require the digestive enzyme protease to properly digest. If you look into this a little deeper, you will notice that the raw version of any food will contain a certain amount of the raw enzyme that is used to digest that particular food. It’s pretty amazing how food that is so good for us also provides a method for our bodies to get as much nutrients as possible from them.

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