Dr. Edward Howell: Enzyme Nutrition: The Food Enzyme Concept - Unlocking the Secrets for Eating Right for Health, Vitality and Longevity (Avery 1985)
- The Enzyme Nutrition Axiom, p. xv, Dr Edward Howell
I read 'Enzyme Nutrition' a few years back when I was starting to learn about the raw food diet. It was one of the first books I read. I generally accepted that enzymes were good for you and decided to try the raw food diet and see how I felt.
Despite getting many benefits from the raw food trials and juice fasts, I have only in the last few weeks and days got very clear proof of the power of enzymes - as I for the first time started taking digestive enzyme supplements.
Before you get disheartened and think that it is necessary to buy expensive supplements, I rush to tell you that it is not necessary to buy supplements to benefit from enzymes. All you have to do is eat enzyme-rich foods!
And what are enzyme rich foods? That is the best part. All living foods have enzymes in them. That means all natural, wild, uncooked foods. Anything alive, basically, is full of enzymes so raw foods are ideal for this purpose.
So during my raw food experiments, such as the 100-day raw food trial, I got many benefits, but there were also some major ill-health symptoms that seemed not to get better. So I kind of put the idea of enzymes on a back-burner for a while, meanwhile concentrating in figuring out how to strengthen my system in many other natural/ alternative health ways before returning to raw foods. This approach eventually brought me full-circle back to the idea of enzymes!
The two main symptoms that had not been resolved were a chronic cough, especially after eating, and tiredness. Both of these got better during raw foods, but they didn't go completely.
After years of trying to figure these out, the mystery started to unravel when, first, my hair mineral analyst diagnosed me with adrenal insufficiency - as a cause of my fatigue. At the time of writing this I am on a dairy and gluten free diet, whose diary notes chronicle how my energy started improving after taking supplements to begin healing the sluggish adrenal glands.
The other thing these diary notes chronicle was how my chronic cough started disappearing! This was largely to do with supplementing on digestive enzymes.
After all the reading and experimenting with alternative health and seeing two different naturopaths, it was ironically a normal, allopathic, government-employed doctor who suggested that my cough may be due to heartburn. Of course he wasn't aware of digestive enzymes as a cure but he did provide the key to unlock this mystery.
That was a huge relief. Who would have thought that a chronic cough can be caused by hearburn, especially when there are no other symptoms of heartburn or digestive problems!
As towards why the digestive enzymes helped - this is what Edrward Howell's book explains. It also explains what happens when you waste enzymes and how to use enzymes to reverse the aging process. If you suffer from allergies or food and chemical insensitivities, the health of your pancreas is the key to healing those allergies. This book contains some key information related to pancreas health and how to rejuvenate it. However, whatever your personal interest in health, knowing about enzymes is of vital importance, as they are used for all the body functions and are, according to Dr Howell, more important than vitamins and trace minerals to your overall well-being.
"In the early 1900s, Casimar Funk discovered the vital importance of vitamins in human nutrition and health. Some years later, researchers looked at the then unknown role of minerals and trace minerals in health. Again, the nutritional picture took on a new dimension. This book is an attempt to bring into the light the most important nutritional discovery since vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, and perhaps the only solution to our present health crisis - food enzymes. The study of food enzymes in nutrition and human health has been a 'sore eye' to both scientists and nutritionists alike. For enzymes operate on both chemical and biological levels, and science cannot measure on synthesize their biological or life energy."
- p. ix, Enzyme Nutrition
Dr Howell explains that there are three different types of enzymes: metabolic enzymes, digestive enzymes and food enzymes. Food enzymes are in all raw, uncooked and unprocessed foods, and they are there for the food to 'self-digest'. When a piece of fruit falls off a tree, the enzymes present in the fruit soon start 'digesting' it. When you make fruit juice in your juicer, the ground pulp left over of the juice soon changes colour, decays and starts smelling - this is enzymes at work digesting the fruit pulp. When you chew your food and it enters your stomach, the digestive enzymes of the food actually do a large part of the digesting. This happens in the first hour after eating. And only after this the stomach acid starts breaking the food down.
This is the scenario if your food is raw and it has many enzymes in it. Cooking food, however, destroys all of the enzymes. The enzymes are extremely heat sensitive and any heat that is hot enough to hurt your skin will destroy the enzymes. Thus pasteurization, for example, not only destroys beneficial bacteria but it also kills all of the enzymes, making pasteurized milk products, cheese, yoghurts and fruit juices difficult for the body to digest.
The most important group of enzymes are metabolic enzymes, which you cannot get from food but which are needed for all body functions. Thousands of metabolic enzymes have by now been identified, whereas as recently as 1930, only 80 different enzymes were known. Your liver needs its own enzymes, your heart different ones, and your brain, intestines, and every other organ also utilises a special set of enzymes. Enzymes build materials for your body to produce cells and, according to Dr Howell, they build these out of fat, carbohydrate and protein.
However, the third group, digestive enzymes, get produced by pancreas to help with the digestion of food.
Book review to continue...
An article on the importance of enzymes:
"Enzymes: The Difference Between Raw and Cooked Foods" on Rawfoods.com
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Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.