Monday, December 30, 2013

Fruits, Vegetables and the Importance of Enzymes

Many of the enzymes we require must be taken in with food. A whole host of these integral compounds are derived from plant materials, that is, the fruits and vegetables we eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables, both whole and in juice form, are the richest source for enzymes. Amylase, one enzyme found in fruits and vegetables, aids in the digestion of carbohydrates and starches. Proper digestion of these foods is important for proper weight maintenance and regulation of blood sugar.
Another necessary enzyme is lipase, without which our lower intestine would not be able to absorb nutrients from food. Lipase is created in the pancreas. The minerals and vitamins found in fruits and vegetables make sure the pancreas functions well. Silicon, found abundantly in strawberries, is known to provide a boost to the pancreatic function.
In addition to their role in the digestive tract, enzymes are important in protecting bone joints and reducing bodily inflammation. Joint pain can be caused by accumulations of uric acid crystals caught within the joints. These crystals are the result of the improper digestion of fats and proteins, the job of the digestive enzymes. Enzymes also stimulate the production of cytokines, which help stop and reduce inflammation. Thus, the adequate intake of enzymes is a guard against arthritis.

Another important property of enzymes is in the detoxification of the body. They break down the toxins that accumulate in the cells and bloodstream so that they can be safely excreted. Studies have shown that enzymes found in green leafy vegetables break down and make harmless insecticides used in farming.
What is important to realize is that enzymes are denatured, rendered nonfunctional, by heat. Temperatures as low as 118 degrees Fahrenheit can destroy enzymes. Thus eating raw fruits and vegetables is of critical importance. Fresh juice provides an excellent alternative to whole fruits and vegetables, especially when many kinds of produce are juiced together.
The freshness of fruits and vegetables is also extremely important. Canned or bottled fruits and vegetables, as well as prepackaged juices, are known to have far lower vitamin and mineral counts as well as depleted enzyme contributions. Whole foods, whether carrots, beets, citrus fruit, spinach and other green vegetables, apples, and pears, are teeming with these necessary enzymes.
Enzymes are the workhorses of the body. We need them for every function that occurs within us. Healthy skin, organs, teeth, breathing, brain function, and digestion depend on enzymes. Without them we are susceptible to disease and environmental insults. But although they are such powerful agents in our health, they are also fragile, in that heat and lack of freshness can destroy them. Vegetables and fruits, eaten raw and as juice, ensure a healthy, disease-free life.
Fruits, Vegetables and the Importance of Enzymes
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