Friday fun: What is gluten?

Filed in: Article, health-hazards, health-news, health-tips.

We've all seen an ant colony. All those little workers rushing to do their jobs. It seems very random, but each of them is doing something very specific that must be done for the good of the entire colony.

That's what I imagine are the enzymes. Enzymes are really proteins, hard-working proteins. They are catalysts that facilitate and accelerate the different reactions in the body. One of the jobs of digestive enzymes is to help break down large molecules of fats, proteins, carbohydrates and other components of the food we eat.

If you experience gas, bloating, irregular bowels, belching or other digestive discomfort after eating, you may feel the consequences of not having enough digestive enzymes. Having enough enzymes, all different types, is key to good health. Food is the fuel of your body and the incomplete digestion and assimilation of that fuel leads to malnutrition at the cellular level. If the cells are not healthy, the whole body suffers.

Digestive enzymes occur naturally within your body. We also get enzymes from raw foods. Many children eat many processed foods daily. Processed foods, even the healthiest versions, lack those essential enzymes, which are sensitive to heat.

Including raw foods (foods that have not been heated to more than 118 degrees Fahrenheit) is important because the enzymes are still viable.

The average American diet is responsible for the development of chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, stroke, etc. Why is diet so important to our health? Because the food (and supplements) that we consume provide our cells with the nutrients to survive and function. That is why in holistic medicine we focus on the health of the gastrointestinal tract (GI), where food is digested and assimilated to the body.

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Throughout the GI tract, from the mouth to the intestines, the glands secrete enzymes to help digest the fat, carbohydrates and proteins we eat. We also consume enzymes through RAW foods. The enzymes are denatured (inactivated) by heat. So the enzymes in cooked foods lose their function, which is to increase the rates of chemical reactions within the body.

"Although the body can make enzymes,
the more you use your enzymatic potential,
The faster it's going to end … "?
– Dr. Edward Howell (pioneer in the field of enzyme research)

Supporting our body with raw foods, supports our enzyme supply. Raw foods contain all the enzymes necessary for their own digestion. Eating too many processed and cooked foods and very little live, raw foods can result in enzyme deficiencies. There is research to support the health benefits of enzymes, for example: Bromelain (an enzyme found in fresh pineapple) has been found to have anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-inflammatory properties are enormous since chronic inflammation has been linked to many diseases, such as allergies, asthma, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Very important: Enzymes depend on vitamins and minerals to function properly.

"Enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts in almost every biochemical process that takes place in the body. Its activity depends on the presence of adequate vitamins and minerals. Many enzymes incorporate a single molecule of a trace mineral, such as copper, iron or zinc, without which the enzyme can not function. "Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD

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