Naturally Rockford: To benefit most from enzymes, one should eat raw foods

There is a lot of information concerning enzymes, but most of it is lacking. Some say foods supply our bodies with enzymes. Some say enzyme supplements are needed to promote proper health. These ideas are false.

Naturally occurring enzymes are present throughout the body. They enable chemical reactions, making possible metabolic and digestive system processes. A healthy body produces its own enzymes, and does not require supplementary ones in any way, shape, or form (over-the-counter supplements are passed through the body as proteins). Enzymes in food help in digestion, but don’t supply us with additional ones.

When we consume plants and animals, we are also consuming their natural enzymes. Some help our digestive system. When food begins the digestive route, in the mouth and down the esophagus to the upper portion of the stomach, the food’s own natural enzymes begin to break it down. This aids us in digesting, requiring less digestive energy from the body, which can boost overall energy. From there, these enzymes are no benefit. If they make it past the upper portion of the stomach, they are digested and reabsorbed as proteins.

To benefit most from these enzymes, one should eat raw foods. These are uncooked and unfrozen. When food is heated above 118 degrees, enzymes break down. When it is frozen, the enzymes are damaged.

Rose Hayes, raw food instructor and local raw foods chef at Vitamins ‘N’ More, suggests juicing raw foods as a way to receive maximum benefit from enzymes. Juicing allows the enzymes to work faster, since there is no solid for them to break down. Phytochemicals, which activate enzymes, as well as being disease preventers /curers, can only be derived from plants. They are also destroyed in processing and heating. Juicing allows them quick entrance into the bloodstream, rendering maximum health benefits.

Drinking juice fresh (within 15 minsutes of production) is the best option. The enzymes are still readily active; as time wears on, enzymes also wear down. But one can store it for later consumption. The best method of storage is to fill a glass container to the top, seal it off from air, and keep it refrigerated. This method allows for consumption when time or necessity allows, although it’s best to only wait eight to12 hrs. It’s also best to wait a half hour before eating solid food after juicing. This allows for the optimum absorption of nutrients.

When one is following a juice regimen, be sure to have a diet rich in fiber. When juiced, foods are separated from the fiber they naturally contain, not allowing for the body to take advantage as it usually would. These separated fibers of fruits and veggies can be consumed and used in an assortment of recipes, including butter, pizza dough, cake, and even tacos, all taught by Rose Hayes at Rock Valley College.

Juicing offers a quick and efficient way to ingest needed nutrients. Eating fresh food, without juicing, also benefits the body, just not as quickly, as there is more to break down.

For more info: Contact Raw with Rose, Rose Hayes, 815-877-4244, e-mail:

From the April 20-26, 2005 issue

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