As we discussed earlier, enzymes are the chemical catalysts that help our body function in every way. The human body relies on millions of enzymes to grow, heal and stay active. One important task for enzymes is to help break down the foods we eat and extract the nutrition so it can be absorbed by the body.
We absorb enzymes from the foods we eat, so naturally we should be eating foods that are rich in enzymes to maintain all these essential functions. If your body is low in enzymes, it will correct the balance by extracting minerals from your bones – this is not such a great long-term solution, as you can imagine! You don’t want your bones to become fragile. And without an adequate enzyme intake, you cannot extract the other essential nutrients from your food.
The best sources of enzymes are fresh plant foods. Yet, when we cook plant foods, such as fruits and vegetables, we kill off large quantities of the essential enzymes that we need to break foods down into their nutrient components.
How does cooking deplete the enzyme content?
Frozen foods lose between 5% and 30 % of their original enzyme content, dried or dehydrated foods lose 2% to 50% of the original content, steamed (crunchy) food loose 15% to 60%, cooked foods lose 40% – 100% and microwaved food lose 90%-99%. So next time you sit down to a “healthy” meal including mashed potato and steamed vegetables, ask yourself: How many enzymes survived the cooking of this meal?
How to increase your enzyme intake
Ironically, for people with digestive issues such as leaky gut syndrome, raw vegetables can be difficult to digest in their whole food form. So you might be wondering how you can increase your enzyme intake when you can’t tolerate large servings of raw vegetables.
The best and most natural way to increase your enzyme intake is to juice a combination of fruits and vegetables every day. Juicing minimizes the fiber content, so your body doesn’t have to struggle to digest the nutrients – the cell walls of the vegetables have already been broken down so the nutrients are more easily extracted and absorbed. You are giving your body more enzymes, and you are giving the enzymes an easier job to do!
If you want something with more fiber content, make a smoothie. While juicing extracts the pulp, which contains fiber, a smoothie incorporates the pulp to make a smoother, more filling texture.
We started juicing vegetables once daily and/or make fruit smoothies in the mornings. Juiced vegetables can be used as a snack or a drink for dinner table. It can also be a meal replacement if you drink two glasses. We store juiced vegetables up to two days, so that we do not consume so much time being in the kitchen.
Choose your vegetables carefully
When you are looking to increase your nutrient intake through fresh foods, a good tip is to look for a range of brightly colored fruits and vegetables each day.
The different natural coloring agents in fruits and vegetables signify different nutrients, so the more colors you consume, the more goodness you absorb.
It is also important to be reminded that fresh foods that are sprayed with certain pesticides while growing will also lose their enzyme content, as well as becoming loaded with toxins.
You can minimize this risk by doing your research, so you purchase organic produce that has not been compromised in quality.
Take a supplement
If you are not confident that your daily diet can supply all the enzymes you need, try taking a digestive enzyme supplement to support your enzyme intake.
It is also important to take whole food multi-vitamin supplement. Vitamins are enzymes, although not all enzymes are vitamins. Some of the vitamins I recommend for eczema suffers are vitamin A, B- complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium and zinc.
Elizabeth takes whole food multi-vitamin supplements twice daily.
- Enzymes are essential for growth, maintenance and healing of your body. You particularly need enzymes for effective digestion, so you can extract all the nutrients from the food you eat.
- Raw organic fruits and vegetables are the best source of enzymes. Cooking plant foods, even briefly, compromises the enzyme content.
- Fresh juice and smoothies are a great way to increase your enzyme intake and boost your nutrient absorption.
- Digestive enzyme supplements are available commercially if you are not confident you are consuming enough fresh/ raw foods.