Food enzymes aid digestion by breaking down nutrients – proteins, fats, sugars, starches, and fiber. They come solely from raw fruits and vegetables.
Conventional thought among nutritionists and physicians is that food enzymes are destroyed by acid as soon as they hit the stomach. Actually 30 to 45 minutes pass before they come in contact with stomach acid. As the food leaves the esophagus it enters the top part of the stomach or the cardiac stomach. This part of the stomach has very little acid and this is where predigestion takes place by the enzymes. Even when the food enters the bottom portion of the stomach the enzymes will stay active for a time before the acid prohibits them.
The typical American diet is seriously lacking in food enzymes. Any form of processing be it pasteurization, irradiation, steaming, canning, microwaving or any other heating will destroy the naturally occurring enzymes in food. In addition, pesticides, fungicides and inorganic fertilizers will greatly reduce enzyme content in soil. Foods grown in soil that is lacking enzymes, vitamins, minerals and microorganisms will be depleted of nutrients.
There have been numerous USDA studies that offer proof that organically grown food is richer in nutrients than non-organic food. To increase the benefit of the food enzymes found in organic food, it’s important to thoroughly chew your food. The enzymes in the food can’t do their job unless you do this. Chewing is a very important part of the digestive process.
Enzyme activity will also be hindered by hormones that have been added to non-organic meat, refined sugar and flour, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose, artificial fats and trans fats that are found in margarine and vegetable shortening.They all will tax the body’s systems but don’t contribute any nutrition or enzymes. Enzyme deficiency will manifest itself in a vast array of symptoms and disorders.
Predigestion….It’s essential to know how to use raw foods and supplemental enzymes in your diet. It’s a fact that enzymes in food aid in digestion. This enzyme activity takes place in the upper part of the stomach. Anatomically it’s called the cardiac or fundic part of the stomach. No acid secretion or peristalsis takes place for one-half to one hour after eating. This is when supplemental enzymes and natural enzymes found in food do their predigestion.
Gray’s Anatomy states, “The cardiac portion of the stomach is a food reservoir in which salivary digestion continues; the pyloric portion is the seat of active gastric digestion. There are no peristaltic waves in the cardiac portion.” Dr. Edward Howell calls this part of the stomach the enzyme-stomach.
The enzyme stomach is not original to human beings. Sheep and cattle have no enzymes in their saliva, but have four stomachs. Only one stomach secretes enzymes. The other stomachs let the enzymes found within the food to do predigesting or partial digesting.
When an animal dies the tissues become acidic and the acid releases an enzyme called cathepsin. This begins the predigestion of the protein in the flesh. This enzyme and other enzymes predigest the food and it remains active for long periods of time. Animals that have consumed their food benefit greatly from this predigestion, because their bodies don’t have to secrete large amounts of enzymes to digest the food.
The enzymes found in food will help digest it if it’s not destroyed by heat during cooking. The enzymes not only work in the stomach but also will continue working in the small intestine. Popular opinion is that stomach acid will destroy the enzymes in food. But research seems to show this to be untrue. Studies at North Western University, Evanston, Illinois, showed that supplemental enzymes pass through the stomach unharmed. One study showed that amylase from germinated barley digested starch in the stomach then passed on into the small intestine where it continued to be digested.
It has been thought that only protein was digested in the stomach, but research by Dr. Beazell published in Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine showed that several times more starch was digested than protein within the first hour. This was also supported by research done at the Illinois College of Medicine by Olaf Berglim, Professor of Physiology.
When predigestion takes place it alleviates stress on the body because the draw on metabolic enzymes is kept at a minimum. The law of Adaptive Secretion of Digestive Enzymes states that the more digestion that is accomplished by food enzymes and supplemental enzymes in the stomach the fewer enzymes need to be secreted by the pancreas and intestines. It conserves the body’s enzymes to be used for metabolic processes.
When food is over-cooked and the enzymes are destroyed the only enzymes that get mixed with food are the ones contained in the saliva. Some starch may be digested by the amylase in the saliva. Protein is acted upon by pepsin but mostly in the lower stomach. Fat is practically untouched until it moves into the small intestine to be acted upon by the lipase from pancreatic secretions. This means that no predigestion takes place except for the starch.
Cooked foods, especially those high in protein can putrefy. The by-products of putrefaction are toxins that are absorbed into the bloodstream and are deposited throughout the body. It’s been estimated that 80 percent of diseases are caused by improperly digested food and their by-products being absorbed into the body.