I only begin to understand more about the amazing work of digestive enzymes in our body through reading when I noticed pharmacies are selling various kinds of herbal enzyme supplements, and when honey suppliers keep shouting about the active enzymes in their raw honey and stressing how beneficial they are to our health.
Known as the "life force", enzymes are complex protein molecules found in every cell in your body. They are biological catalysts which accelerates chemical reactions occurred in our body. Just as our bodies produce enzymes, all living organisms produce their own enzymes to provide the nutrients they need. All our food, whether plant or animal, contains enzymes.
There are tens of thousands of different enzymes in the human body performing a multitude of functions at an amazing rate. Digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes are the two types of enzymes. Digestive enzymes work inside the digestive tract to break down our foods so they are small enough to be absorbed. The moment you place food into your mouth to chew, the amylases enzyme works by breaking down carbohydrates like rice and pasta into smaller sugars. When the food reaches your stomach, the digestive enzymes help transform food into tiny nutrients that the body can absorb and use to renew aging cells and to provide energy. Everyday our muscles burn up several hundred grams of carbohydrate and fat for energy.
Enzymes help to maintain body's vital digestive functions, relieve constipation, promote metabolism, and relieve toxin accumulation. Without the pepsin enzymes in the acidic gastric juices, the enzymes in the pancreatic juice, pancreas, and small intestine, our bodies would cease to function. Metabolic enzymes speed up the chemical reaction within the cells for detoxification and energy production. Every organ, every tissue, and all 100 trillion cells in our body depend upon the reaction of these enzymes. Produced by every living cell, metabolic enzymes enable us to see, hear, feel, move and think.
As we age, the levels of our body enzymes generally decrease. The result is that we don't process our food very well and our body doesn't function as optimally as it did during our younger years. Symptoms of inadequate enzymes in our body include frequent fatigue, dizziness, lack of mental focus, muscle pain, indigestion, lack of appetite, and low blood sugar.
Enzymes in food are damaged by heating to as low as 60ºC. In order to reduce the burden of our body to produce enzymes, we should eat plenty organic fresh raw fruits and vegetables. The Japanese, for instance, eat relatively large quantities of raw, enzyme-rich fish and seafood and cook their vegetables at a minimum. They are considered by health experts to be one of the healthiest nations in the world.
Juicing is also one of the most effective ways to give the body the enzymes it needs to be well and healthy. Papaya, pineapples, bananas, mangoes, avocados and sprouts are some of the good sources of enzymes.
One of the characteristics that set natural honey apart from table sugar and all other sweetening agents is the presence of active enzymes. The main enzymes in honey are invertase (saccharase) diastase (amylase) which are introduced to honey by bees, but their presence in honey vary depending on several factors including the nectar composition and concentration, and the age of the bees.
Another enzyme that goes into honey during nectar processing is glucose oxidase which produces the antibacterial, antimicrobial hydrogen peroxide. Different nectar and honey floral sources have widely varying enzyme potency. "Active manuka honey" contains an additional antibacterial component called the "Unique Manuka Factor" (UMF) which is more effective than that with hydrogen peroxide against some types of bacteria and diffuses deeper into skin tissues than does the hydrogen peroxide found in other types of honey.
As these enzymes are sensitive to heat, visible and UV light, it is always recommended that honey be stored away from the sun and that extreme heating be avoided to preserve the natural goodness of honey.
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