Is your food alive? Why eating raw is good for you

Eating living foods is good for us. That doesn’t mean chasing Daisy the cow around the field so you can eat her, it refers to getting as many fresh, unprocessed, mainly raw, foods into your diet. So what makes a food “alive”? One word. Enzymes. They are catalysts for every chemical reaction in the body. Without them, nothing would work.

Cooking largely deactivates enzymes, that’s the reason raw food is so good for us. Processed and over-cooked food is devoid of enzymes, placing the body’s own digestive enzymes under pressure and overworking the pancreas as it struggles to provide an adequate level of digestive enzymes for break down of food.

Enzyme boost

Enzymes naturally present in fresh, raw foods initiate the start of digestion in the mouth and their acton continues in the stomach, getting the food ready for further breakdown by the body’s own digestive enzymes once it reaches the small intestine. The presence of natural food enzymes reduces the body’s need to produce so many of its own digestive enzymes and therefore encourages efficient use of resources, better digestion and absorption of nutrients. Our ancestors ate a predominantly raw, plant- based diet. Our biochemistry hasn’t changed since we were running around out in nature. It’s own lifestyles that have changed and often the changes we have made, do not serve our bodies in an optimum way.

Eat more raw

Eating more raw foods everyday will increase your vitality, provide great fibre for effective bowel function and elimination of the body’s toxins, boost you digestive capacity and flood your bloodstream with numerous nutrients and antioxidants in their true, natural state.

Our own magical enzymes

So, what’s so important about enzymes anyway? Our own body’s produce a vast array of enzymes. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Superoxide dismutase (SOD) – The most important intracellular antioxidant. Produced in the stomach acid, it is a potent cancer protector. It has been shown to reduce tumour size and survival time of cancer cells as well as increasing the ability of macrophages (a particular white blood cell) ability to deal with cancer cells. It also plays a big role in the many functions of the liver. SOD relies on adequate levels of zinc to be produced.

Catalase – This bodily enzyme is found in the liver, red blood cells and is produced in the skin. It is a potent antioxidant, preventing oxidative damage to cells.

Glutathinie synthase/synthetase- This is needed for the production of glutathione, a very important antioxidant and a crucial player in liver detox pathways. It helps protect the energy factories ( mitochondria) of the cell, giving us more energy.

Eat superfoods

The enzymes in raw foods, especially superfoods, encourage the production of our body’s own powerful antioxidant enzymes.

Powerful foods include: cabbage, carrots, broccoli, radish, cauliflower, grapes, berries, garlic, pineapple, medicinal mushrooms, such as reishi and shitake, bee pollen, spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass, barleygrass, seaweed, sprouts, fermented foods such as miso and tempeh, goji berries, papaya, onion, celery, lemons and beetroot.

Article by Jo Rowkins dipNT MBANT, nutritionist, founder of awakening health and executive health adviser of The Spa Resorts.

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