Friday, July 10, 2009

Sparks of Enzymes

Bananas have got'em.

Also mangos, grapes and papayas.

And don't forget avocados!

Actually many tropical fruits and even extra virgin olive oil are on the list of foods that contain a high amount of food enzymes.

Enzymes are energized protein molecules that are the movers and shakers in our body. They are charismatic-getting minerals to do their job, and vitamins to do theirs. Without them, many biochemical reactions in nature just wouldn't happen. When you see a fruit ripening, know it's because of enzymes at work. Same goes with flowers blooming or a wound healing...

Our body manufactures two types: metabolic enzymes and digestive enzymes.

Metabolic enzymes have got a big job on their hands. They are building, repairing tissues and organs. They are transporting and eliminating wastes. They are up-keeping our immune system, and they're involved in our thinking and behavior.

Our pancreas are the faithful producers of our digestive enzymes which is basically food digestion.
There's a third type of enzymes that we get from our diet called food enzymes, and they can be found in raw foods. They help start digestion in the mouth and stomach.

Ok, here's how it goes.

You're eating a meal. And the enzymes jump into action: amylase in your saliva starts breaking down starches into sugars; lipase is converting lipase/fats into fatty acids, and proteins get broken down into amino acids by protease. If you are eating raw foods, the food enzymes will heed the call and help get things going. And the body's digestive enzymes are hardly needed or even reserved. (depends what raw foods you're eating also) If your meal is only cooked foods, the body is forced to supply ALL the enzymes.

Over time, says Dr. Edward Howell, a diet of mainly cooked food will overtax the pancreas. And b/c the body is required to constantly supply digestive enzymes, the production of metabolic enzymes -that keeps the body running smoothly-is curtailed!
This leads to illnesses.
Enzyme research is Dr. Howell's specialty.

Here's the rule: Too much heat kills enzymes.

Ok, so, let's start a raw food diet tomorrow!

um.....

Thankfully, Sally Fallon writes in Nourishing Traditions, that there are no traditional diets that are composed exclusively of raw foods. (I mean why do we have digestive enzymes in the first place....)

So,if you don't care for the Eskimo diet which includes pre-digested raw fish, there's always fermented foods like unheated natto and miso which some Asian societies eat. There's also fermented vegetables like sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) to side-dish your meal. Fermentation boosts the enzyme content in foods.

Another way to boost the enzyme content in foods is to remove the enzyme INHIBITORS. For example, in beans there are enzyme inhibitors that will prevent enzymatic action. It's not a bad thing, per say. These inhibitors actually protect the bean from developing before it's time. It's just a problem for us when we eat them.

Fortunately, soaking beans in water (acidic?) not only deactivates the inhibitors but also unlocks the enzymes for Super Enzyme Power for us!!!
lol

Actually, sprouting, soaking in water, culturing, and fermenting grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are all ways of ridding these foods of inhibitors.

Now, there are those who don't agree w/ Dr. Howell's assertions. Some claim that we have adequate reserves of enzymes. But really, who can know the deep complexities and mysteries of the human body? I mean, really. After all, there is a spiritual dimension involved. These enzymes may be running the show. But Who's running the enzymes?

But we have to be practical.
And there is definitely a balance to achieve in planning one's meals. It's SO easy to skip the salad or the fruit. Sometimes, they even seem to GET IN THE WAY OF THE MEAL!
With the articles on enzymes, I found lots of information on enzyme supplements, which is great. In this day, where everyone seems on the run, could be it's the way to go...

But even if I take supplements, I can't escape food, and it's crucial to know how to manipulate it. And I don't mean manipulation w/ preservatives and all sorts of who knows what. I mean simple, natural methods that anybody can do, like fermentation and soaking to make sure we get the most of what's available.

In the Macrobiotic Diet, author Kushi writes how lighter cooking methods like steaming, stir-frying, and short term boiling retains the nutritional elements in food. And there are some foods that dafka (specifically) should be cooked in order to tap into the nutrients contained. There are ways...

Yeah, we've got to know how to "work" our food.

Catch those enzymes!

Catch those spiritual sparks!

Traditional societies have done it.

I think our current civilized one can manage also.

G-d bless!

Check it out:
Nourishing Traditions, Fallon

Macrobiotic Diet, Kushi

http://www.naturalnews.com/022511.html

http://www.living-foods.com/articles/enzymes.html

4 comments:

Anna said...

Great thorough article on enzymes in our body and in our food! I'm with you - in our busy schedules it seems like a supplement can be a good solution, especially if we're not getting as many raw foods as we'd like. I've also read that our bodies produce less digestive enzymes as we age, so a supplement just before a meal can help with digestion. I try to get in some raw food with every meal...but I'm not always that "balanced."
- Anna M
blog.nutri-health.com

Chaya said...

Thanks, Anna.
Yeah, I'm not always that balanced, either. Writing this post though helps to push me forward though.
re: supplements
I would prefer that society would slow down rather than us taking supplements b/c we're so much on the run.
Alas....

The First Domino דומינו said...

"After all, there is a spiritual dimension involved. These enzymes may be running the show. But Who's running the enzymes?"

Great entry, Chaya. Your comment above really stood out for me.

I think we're prone, at times, to think of ourselves as purely physical beings.

We're more than that. But most of us don't know how to bring the spiritual component into play.

"Fortunately, soaking beans in water (acidic?) not only deactivates the inhibitors but also unlocks the enzymes for Super Enzyme Power for us!!!"

Does this hold true for all beans--a good soaking is optimum?

I'm fond of beans and nuts, but I know very little about "fermenting" them.

I will check out the links you provided.

Chaya said...

I think we're prone, at times, to think of ourselves as purely physical beings.

We're more than that.But most of us don't know how to bring the spiritual component into play.


It's true. It's like we've got the physical world which is so "real" and here and there's the spiritual which seems hardly to exist!

How to combine those two?
I definitely want to think about that further.
I know that in Judaism there's blessings for eating, for even smelling something fragrant.

It seems that acknowledging that the object x was created by G-d and appreciating it is a way that spiritual and physical meet.

Oftentimes, it's so easy to be so hungry that we just wolf down whatever is on our plate/in our hands. It takes determination to stay conscious and grateful even when we're saying a blessing.
(And this is just food we're talking about.

Does this hold true for all beans--a good soaking is optimum?

I don't know if it's for ALL beans-it seems so for red, navy beans etc. I've read that grains have a lower phytate content and supported with a good diet may not pose a problem.
I've never had soaked nuts. They're usu. soaked when raw...

I'm very excited about fermentating vegetables: cabbage, garlic, carrots. add a little jalapeno. mmm! I think it's best to follow a set recipe though. My first attempts were quite embarrassing. lol
There's a lot more info out there. Good luck and enjoy!