Have you heard about more and more people switching to raw food diets and incorporating juicing into their daily routines? Why are these foods beneficial and what does the research have to say? In today’s post, I am going to discuss more about these foods and how they may affect your health.
Advocates of raw food diets and juicing explain that cooking damages the enzymes in food. Enzymes are important for breaking down food particles in the body and have many other important functions such as fighting infections, reducing inflammation and removing toxic waste. There are 3 types of enzymes important to the body:
- Food enzymes – occur in raw food and, when present in the diet, begin the process of digestion
- Digestive enzymes – produced by the body to break food into particles small enough to be carried across the gut wall
- Metabolic enzymes – produced by the body to perform various complex biochemical reactions
Many health advocates warn that the highly processed and cooked foods common in the Western diet are contributing to enzyme deficiency. Not only do the enzymes in cooked foods get damaged from heat, eating these processed foods also will further deplete your body’s ability to make its own enzymes as well (digestive and metabolic). As a result, we end up suffering from all sorts of problems such as poor digestion, constipation and bloating which can lead to more serious illnesses because our bodies are not absorbing nutrients and carrying out waste properly.
The reason why raw food diets and juicing are promoted by health advocates is because the enzymes are undamaged from cooking and can be fully utilized by the body. This does not mean that you need to have a 100% raw diet. It is recommended though, to always eat something raw with a cooked meal or take digestive enzyme supplements when eating a cooked meal. Juicing has become very popular because more nutrients and enzymes from a large amount of fruit and vegetables can be taken into the body without having to ingest all of the roughage and fiber.
If taking enzyme supplements, it is recommended to take them both with food and on an empty stomach. When they are taken with food, they function as digestive enzymes to break down the food. And when they are taken on an empty stomach, they function as metabolic enzymes. This assists the cells in the body carry out their functions, thus reducing inflammation and hence, disease.
From an online search of what research is available on enzymes, I found few available studies through Pubmed. There are, however, many studies supporting the benefits of juicing. It is just not stated in the studies specifically what in the juice is causing the effects and it could likely be the enzymes. There are other articles that state there is mixed evidence that raw is better than cooked, and even some sites that say to stay away from raw foods because of Traditional Chinese Medicine principles. It seems like there is more research needed in this area specifically regarding enzyme use with modern-day diets.
As for me, I have been eating a mostly raw vegan diet for almost a year and I take digestive enzyme supplements every time I eat cooked food. Since changing my diet and taking these supplements, I now find that I always have great energy, no longer feel tired after eating, and my waistline looks better than ever. Also, I recently had a big breakout in acne after a cleanse (which I believe was caused by a buildup of hormones in my body from being on birth control for too long) and I was recommended by my health mentors at Conscious Planet to start taking large doses of probiotics and enzymes. Within 1-2 weeks, all of my acne had cleared up. Changing my diet to incorporate more enzymes has definitely made a huge positive impact on my life. I strongly believe in eating more raw foods and enzyme supplementation.
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