THE BLOG
01/12/2012 11:43 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

How Enzymes Affect Beauty And Health

In The Beauty Detox Solution, I discuss the importance of enzymes. These significant nutritional components are the worker bees in your body's cells, creating chemical reactions that allow them to break down existing materials or create new ones. They also serve as the catalyst for cell growth and renewal.

Photo: Getty


What Are Enzymes?

Made from amino acids put together in very specific structures, enzymes are proteins that serve as catalysts to quickly bring about specific chemical reactions in your body's cells. Enzymes serve to cause certain cell actions, and to speed up others.

There are more than 3,000 types of enzymes in the human body, playing key roles in more than 4,000 biochemical reactions. Enzymes are important for digestion, metabolism, respiration, nutrient absorption and transportation, detoxification and purification, muscle movement, hormone production, cell repair, cell division, and many other bodily processes. Once an enzyme does its job in the body, it is destroyed and must be replaced by new enzymes in order to maintain the body's processes.

Sources of Enzymes

Your body gets enzymes from three main sources:

1. Your body's cells manufacture metabolic enzymes for regulation of your body's structures including organs, tissue, and blood. These enzymes create new cells, help repair existing damaged cells, and help move nutrients to where your body most needs them.
2. Your digestive organs produce digestive enzymes, which break down food into forms that nourish your body. Digestive enzymes break down into four subtypes: Amylase allows you to digest carbohydrates in fruit, starchy vegetables, and grains. Lipase breaks down fats from meat and dairy products into fatty acids. Protease breaks down proteins from nuts, dairy, and meats into amino acids. Cellulase digests fiber.
3. The foods you eat contain food enzymes, but they are only valuable to you if the food is raw (heated below 118 degrees Fahrenheit). These enzymes can strengthen your immune system and work in conjunction with nutrients to repair cells and build health.

Enzymes and Disease

When you eat foods that do not contain enzymes, or overheated foods with inactive enzymes, then your body must pull a heavier load to produce the enzymes it needs to maintain health. This can exhaust your body's capacity to protect itself from disease via the immune system. The longer you deny your body of healthy food enzymes, the more exhausted it becomes from the effort for creating enough to get by, which can allow disease or ill health to proliferate. Your body may become less able to produce the enzymes it needs over years of an unhealthy, overheated, over processed diet.

Lack of enzymes contributes to disease in another way, as well, because enzymes play a key role in detoxification. For example, the enzyme catalase breaks down toxic hydrogen peroxide and coverts it into oxygen and water. Many other enzymes support similar functions that keep toxic sludge from building up in your body; however, as discussed above, when you don't provide the food enzymes you need, your body may be unable to produce all of the enzymes necessary for detoxification. The result? More toxic sludge that gunks up your works and detracts from both health and beauty.

Enzymes and Beauty

Along with helping to clean the toxic sludge in your system that can dull your complexion, remove pigment from or thin your hair, contribute to acne, and lead to premature lines and wrinkles, enzymes also control the release rate of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which provides energy to every cell in your body. Since your body utilizes this energy for cell repair to keep your skin glowing, your hair growing, and your cells regenerated, the absence of enzymes can disrupt delivery of this all-important, life-sustaining energy.

Supporting Health and Beauty with Enzymes

You can support your immunity, health, and beauty, however, by eating plenty of enzyme containing foods. Raw fruits and vegetables are jam packed with enzymes, as is my Probiotic and Enzyme salad. The Glowing Green Smoothie packs a powerful enzyme punch, as well. To bring more food enzymes into your diet:

1. Be sure to eat a great deal of raw, organic fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, as well as raw nuts and seeds. Be sure raw veggies are present at every meal, especially green vegetables (for breakfast see #3).
2. If you do heat or cook your food, do so gently at lower temperatures when possible and for the shortest time possible.
3. Start each day with a GGS (Glowing Green Smoothie), which is a tremendous source of enzymes.
4. Chew your food well to release the enzymes and make them readily available for use in your body.
5. Follow a light to heavy food eating schedule to give your digestive system the support it needs to fully break down the foods you eat and make the most of the nutrients they contain, including enzymes.
6. Don't water down your enzymes by drinking water with food. Instead, drink no more than 30 minutes before or 60 minutes after eating.
7. Take a high quality plant-based digestive enzyme supplement.
8. Eat Probiotic and Enzyme salad regularly. If you lack the time to make it yourself, pick up some raw sauerkraut in the refrigerated section of your local health food store.

It benefits your health and beauty to maximize your enzyme intake. By doing so, you will discover you have more energy, digest your foods much more easily, and look and feel better than you have in years.

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