Enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts to facilitate and speed up the different biochemical processes in the body.
Digestive enzymes help to break down the large molecules of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and other components of the foods we eat. Food is your body's fuel and incomplete digestion and assimilation of that fuel leads to mal-nourishment at the cellular level. If the cells aren't healthy the whole body suffers. So ensuring your body has enough enzymes is key to good health.
If you experience gas, bloating, irregular bowels, burping, or other digestive discomforts after eating, you may be feeling the consequences of not enough digestive enzymes.
Digestive enzymes are naturally produced within your body. Enzymes are denatured (inactivated) by heat. So the enzymes in cooked food lose their function, which is why it is important to include raw foods in the diet, because the enzymes are still viable. Raw foods contain all the enzymes necessary for their own digestion. Eating too much processed and cooked food and too little live, raw food can result in enzyme deficiencies.
One enzyme in particular, has been found to be highly beneficial for health and as a natural agent against cancer and other chronic diseases. bromelain, an enzyme found in fresh pineapple, has found to have anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties. Anti-inflammatory properties are hugely important since chronic inflammation has been linked to many diseases including allergies, asthma, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Bromelain helps to fight cancer by dissolving unnecessary tissue throughout the body. It breaks down scar tissue and other debris created from the natural processes of stress and physical wear and tear that develop with normal cellular function. As we age, our body has a reduced capacity to eliminate these garbage byproducts from within our cells and we undergo the process of advanced aging.
Enzymes such as bromelain are also required to break down proteins used to drive metabolic functions within the body. Processed and overcooked foods have been stripped of the natural enzymes that originally existed, so the pancreas is forced to work beyond its capacity to break down digested proteins. Cancer cells also use a protein shield to cloak themselves and avoid detection from the immune system. Enzymes help destroy the protein bond around cancer clusters so the body can destroy developing tumor wall structures and thwart cancer initiation.
Papain is another natural, plant-derived enzyme found in the tropical fruit papaya. Papaya is sometimes referred to as the ultimate fruit for digestion, because it contains the enzyme papain, which is promotes the digestion of proteins. Like bromelian, this remarkable enzyme not only aids digestion, but has also been shown to have potent antioxidant benefits, as well as helping to lower inflammation in the body.
Foods High in Enzymes
Enzymes rely on vitamins and minerals to function properly. Some foods that have high enzyme content include extra virgin olive oil, raw honey, grapes, figs, avocados, dates, bananas, pineapple, papaya, kiwi and mangos.
Fermented and pickled fruits and vegetables, as well as cultured dairy products are also high in beneficial enzymes. These help to predigest food and therefore ease the digestive process.