The primary role of enzymes is to act as catalysts that accelerate and precipitate the hundreds of thousands biochemical reactions in the body that control lifes processes. They assist in most functions of the body. With out this catalytic action most of the reactions would happen too slowly to sustain life.
Each enzyme has a specific function. The chemical shape is specialized and can only initiate a reaction in a certain substance. Because of this the body must produce large numbers of different enzymes. And of course as s a person ages, the bodys ability to produce enzymes decreases.
Digestive enzymes break down food particles, which is stored in the liver or muscles. The energy is coverted later by other enzymes and used when the body is in need. Enzymes in the blood concentrate the supply of iron and other enzymes in blood help the blood to coagulate. Respiratory enzymes help in the elimination of carbon dioxide from the lungs. Enzymes not only assist in removing wastes and toxins from the body, but they also work to the assist the body in constructing new muscle tissue, nerve cell, bone, skin and glandular tissue. Enzymes also protect the blood from harmful waste materials by converting them into substances that are easily eliminated by the body.
Enzymes can easily be obtained from food, however enzymes are very sensitive to heat. Even very low heat can destroy most of the enzymes found in food. Generally it is important that raw food be consumed for a good supply of food enzymes.
A good source of food enzymes can be found in a variety of foods, ranging from plant to meat sources. Some good choices are avocados, pineapples, bananas, and papaya. Sprouts contain the highest source. Some other foods to consider are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, barley grass, cabbage and wheatgrass.
Alternatively, a variety of supplements are available as well. Usually they are sold as a combination of enzymes. It is best if taking digestive enzymes that you take a supplement that contains all the digestive enzymes. Usually, they should be taken before a meal unless you are eating processed or cooked foods, then it is best to take them during the meal.
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© Melt Magazine 2003