Eating food raw is also known as eating live foods and uncooked foods due to the foods’ enzyme content. Most of us know there are three main types of enzymes--metabolic enzymes, digestive enzymes, and food enzymes--but let’s take a closer look at food enzymes and their importance.
Food enzymes are found naturally in raw, uncooked foods and most raw foods contain the very enzymes your body needs to assist in the digestion of that food, and different enzymes break down different classes of food. That makes the enzymes found in these living foods an essential part of the digestive process, with digestion taking up more of your body’s energy than you think—about 80%, in fact.
So what foods have a lot of life—enzyme-wise? Raw food, particularly raw fermented food, fresh, raw organic vegetables and fruits (like papayas and pineapple), raw sprouted grains, raw seeds and nuts, avocados, sprouts, and unpasteurized dairy products.
Many people have begun living it up with raw foods, too. For example, Emily Kane, N.D. advocates eating raw. She says, “All raw foods contain exactly the right enzymes required to split every last molecule into the basic building blocks of metabolism: Amino acids (from protein), glucose (from complex carbohydrates) and essential fatty acids (from unsaturated vegetable fats).”
Likewise, Dr. Bernarr Zovluck, D.C., D.D., warns against eating too much cooked food. He says, “When food is cooked above 118 degrees Fahrenheit for three minutes or longer, its protein has become denatured, its sugar has become caramelized, its natural fibers have been broken down, which means it will take longer to move through the intestinal tract. Up to 90% of its vitamins and minerals have been damaged or destroyed, and 100% of its enzymes have been destroyed.”
Wow. That’ll take the life right out of your food!
Cooked foods aren’t the only foods to limit, however. You’ll also want to avoid conventional, processed foods. Diana Schwarzbein, M.D., author of The Schwarzbein Principle says that instead of eating real foods (like raw foods), we eat manufactured food products and they wreak havoc on the body, including its enzymes.
Schwarzbein says, “If we could see the intricate biochemical processes going on within our bodies, we would be appalled at the damage we do to ourselves when we ingest chemicals—the man-made foods, which are really ‘non-foods.’ For example, if after drinking a diet soda we could actually see what occurs on a cellular level—how the molecules, hormones and enzymes become imbalanced—it would be apparent that such a substance is bad for our bodies."
And if you’re still in doubt…yes, enzymes really are that important. “People think that if they simply take vitamins and minerals they will be healthy, but every vitamin and mineral requires an enzyme,” says Dr. Lita Lee, a leading enzyme therapist. “You can eat pounds and pounds of vitamins and minerals [from your diet], but if you don’t have the proper enzymes, they don’t work.”
Live it up! Make sure your diet is alive with enzyme-packed raw foods.