What are Enzymes?

In this article I will answer and expound on the question, ‘what are enzymes’ in simple terms, and I will go into how they relate to the raw food diet.  Enzymes are vital for health and well-being, yet most people consume a diet that is “enzyme poor”.

Enzymes are catalysts:  they are organic substances that speed up or instigate a given chemical reaction.  They make things happen.  Enzymes are what the body uses to accomplish everything from large motor movements, to the smallest cellular activity.

There are many different kinds of enzymes, and each one has a specific purpose in the body.  Every organ and every tissue has their own specific enzymes, designed to carry out its unique purpose.  In Enzyme Nutrition, Dr. Howell states, “one authority made an investigation and found 98 distinct enzymes working in the arteries, each with a particular job to do”.

Every time you consume fresh raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds you have the added benefit of consuming all-important enzymes.  Without enzymes, you would not be able to digest your food, fight disease, move, breathe, or even think, to name just a few things! They are all-important to a long healthy life; everyone who is interested in healthy living should learn about them.

A diet rich in enzymes produces an energetic, youthful body.  In Psalms 103:5 it says, “who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s”.  (Emphasis mine.)

When food is cooked the enzymes die.  So to digest the food eaten, it takes enzymes that were designed for another function to handle the digestion of that food.  It works, but not as well, and then uses up the enzyme that was meant for some other function.

The important factor about enzymes is that we are all born with a certain amount, and there is no way to obtain more enzymes, except through food eaten or supplements (which are obtained from food), and then, obviously, you are consuming food enzymes, but not replacing enzymes used for other functions.

Some raw foods have many more enzymes than others, however all raw food has the enzymes in it that are needed to digest that particular food, so that whenever raw food is eaten, no additional enzymes are needed as supplements.  This is one of the reasons that raw foods are usually easily digested.

However, if cooked food is eaten, it is highly advisable to take a food enzyme supplement with that meal, or enzymes will be taken from your body that were meant for another purpose.  Note:  not all enzyme supplements are created equal, and usually a good supplement needs refrigeration.

Dried food, if dried below 118 degrees will have retained their enzymes.  However, most dried food at the supermarket has not been dried below this temperature, and falls more into the category of cooked food, with regard to enzymes. Dried food that has been dried at this lower temperature also tastes much better!

Raw meat has enzymes needed for digestion.  As an interesting fact, the some of the Indians that hunted buffalo upon the kill, went straight for the vital organs, and ate them raw!  These organs provided them with much needed enzymes.  We do not recommend, of course that people eat raw meat for many reasons.  However, for our carnivorous pets, raw meat is the best.

Raw cheese contains enzymes, as does raw milk, but can be difficult to obtain. Raw honey is also a good source for enzymes.  Most store bought honey is not raw, and therefore contain no enzymes.

If you would like to know more about enzymes and how they function, I recommend the excellent book Enzyme Nutrition by Dr. Edward Howell, which is considered by many to be the best book on the topic.

In conclusion, for optimal health, you want to retain as many of your enzymes in your body as you can, because, once they are spent, they are gone, and your body has no way to fight aging or disease.  What are enzymes?  The secret ingredient for long life and good health.




Vitamin E Sources

Vitamin E, aka Tocopherol, D’alpha (natural), Dl’alpha (synthetic),is an increasingly popular anti-aging vitamin, and is important to the arteries, blood vessels, heart, lungs, nerves, pituitary gland, and the skin.

It is the belief myself and many others on the raw food diet that the vitamin E sources from natural sources are far superior than the synthetic sources, since the body assimilates organic material and uses it where needed, but most inorganic material does not have the same desired effect.  This is why those on the raw food diet have such great skin!

The RDA for vitamin E is: 8-10 IU.  The supplementary ranges is: 100-1200 IU

The toxicity level is: 4000+ IU . Excessive intake may produce side effects in some individuals. Toxicity symptoms: elevated blood pressure when starting with high doses.

If you are on the raw food diet, or consume lots of raw food, you probably are getting your RDA of vitamin E, since the plant sources are:

  • Almonds
  • asparagus
  • bran
  • brown rice
  • cucumber
  • dark green vegetables
  • fruits
  • kale
  • nuts
  • peanuts
  • seeds
  • soybeans
  • unrefined cereals
  • vegetable oils
  • wheat germ & oil
  • whole grains
  • Hazelnuts 1/2 cup= 14 IU

Vitamin E is not just for the skin, however.  It is an important anti-clotting factor, and helps fight arthritis, to name just a couple of important things that it does.

For more information about vitamin E, such as the augmenting nutrients, and inhibiting factors, as well as the animal sources and bodily functions facilitated, deficiency symptoms, and more, get our Nutrition Chart Book.

Potassium in Food

Potassium ranks as one of the most important minerals needed by the body, and yet there is a chronic deficiency in most people’s diet today.

It is easy to get the RDA of potassium if you are on the raw food diet, but if you are on the Standard American Diet, you are probably deficient in potassium.  There is no substitute for potassium in food – potassium “pills” are not from sources that your body can use properly.  In other words, if you were to try to get your RDA of potassium from these pills, you would “overdose”; your body can’t use the synthetic form, and it would be dangerous and possibly lethal to use that much of it.  It is virtually impossible to overdose on the natural potassium in food!

The raw food diet abounds with foods high in potassium.

  • Apricots
  • avocado
  • bananas
  • broccoli
  • brusselsprouts
  • buckwheat
  • cantaloupe
  • dates
  • dried fruits
  • kidney beans
  • legumes,
  • lima beans
  • nuts
  • parsley
  • peaches
  • potatoes
  • seeds
  • soybeans
  • spinach
  • tomato juice
  • tofu
  • wheat germ
  • yellow vegetables
  • carrot juice 1 cup= 769 mg

To see the exact amount of potassium in all kinds of food, please see our Nutrition Chart Book.  The Nutrition Charts in this book list the potassium value of just about everything you can imagine – it is truly a great resource to have.

The RDA for potassium is 4700 mg.  Some people might think, “well, I know bananas have potassium, so I’ll eat a banana a day”.  This is a good start, but, to give you an idea of how much potassium we need, a 3.5 oz banana (maybe 1/2 of a banana) has 370 mgs of potassium in it. This means that you would have to eat 5 large bananas a day, and still not have enough potassium in your diet!

To conclude, getting potassium in food rather than in pill form is the only way to get your RDA;  even the best vitamins do not carry nearly what the RDA is for potassium.  The raw food diet is the perfect way to get your RDA of potassium.

Vitamin B6 Foods

Vitamin B6 is an important part of the B complex vitamins, and is affects the blood, the central nervous system, the muscles, and the skin.

If you are on the raw food diet, you are probably getting enough vitamin b6, because vitamin b6 foods are common in the raw food diet.

Here’s a list of raw food diet sources:

  • Avocado
  • bananas
  • blackstrap molasses
  • blueberries
  • brewer’s yeast
  • brown rice
  • cabbage
  • cantaloupe
  • green leafy vegetables
  • melons
  • mushrooms
  • peanuts
  • prunes
  • raisins
  • soybeans
  • soyflour
  • walnuts
  • whole grains
  • wheat germ (toasted) 1 cup=1 mg

As you can see, it is pretty easy to get your daily supply when you know what the vitamin b6 foods are.

For those who don’t eat many of these foods, or who consume alcohol, coffee, estrogens, oral contraceptives, penicillamine,  or post-menopausal drugs, have radiation exposure, or use tobacco, you may want to limit your intake of these, as they inhibit the body’s absorption of vitamin b6.  At least try to not take your vitamins or eat your vitamin b6 foods with these inhibitors.

For the daily dosage and supplementary ranges, toxicity, augmenting nutrients, anti-minerals, animal sources, plant sources, bodily parts affected, bodily functions facilitated, deficiency symptoms, and therapeutic applications associated with vitamin b6 (as well as for every other vitamin and mineral), please see our Nutrition Chart Book.

The nutrition charts in The Nutrition Chart Book not only give you this information, but it breaks down the nutritional content of many common foods, so that you can see exactly what is in what you are eating. This is a very handy resource to have.

Vitamin b6 does so many important functions ~ make sure you get your daily supply!