Food And Arthritis

Add the RIGHT foods to your diet to REDUCE arthritic pain and inflammation.
Include the WRONG foods to your diet and INCREASE arthritic pain and inflammation.
My choice? A life-journey based on a low-oil whole-food plant based diet.
Whatever your current state of health, make yourself healthier - you deserve it. Start your plant based diet journey today.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Digestion, part 3: It's all about the enzymes

And so to my third blog post on digestion.  Hardly a week ago and I would have not had any substantial material to write here, rather what I had in my mind was a mystery.  Thankfully both for me and for you, dear reader, I am beginning to get an understanding.

When you read on a packet of something from the supermarket and its says so much Vitamin C or B or whatever what it will never tell you is about the enzymes.  That may be because in part packed food from supermarkets is notably low on enzymes.  Sadly fresh food, unless it is organic is also low on enzymes.  Sadly also any cooking destroys enzymes, especially that at higher temperatures and longer cooking times.  This blog post my be seen as a sales pitch for buying organic produce!  Actually it is more than that.  But let's start at the beginning, and what are enzymes and where are they found?

Enzymes are the workers inside your body's digestive system that break nutrients down into components that the body can actually use.  It does not matter how much Vitamin C you take in through your mouth, if your body cannot extract that vitamin and make use of it then it is wasted.

You can see enzymes on food in the shops on food.  It may be a bruise on an apple that's turning brown. Not very attractive to look at but a guarantee of something good happening.  Yes, your body can bring in enzymes into your body a part of the food you grow and buy.  The fresher and higher quality produce has many more enzymes compared with pre-packed, processed, microwaveable foods.

Knowing the food you eat is packed with enzymes gains more importance as you get older.  When you are young your body possibly has enough enzymes to digest everything comfortably.  But by the age of 30 your body's ability to produce enzymes drops significantly.  At the age of 60 if you are not getting enough enzymes coming through your mouth then illness is likely to follow.

Hey, I'm sixty-three!  Probably a lack of enzymes is one reason why suddenly a year ago rheumatoid arthritis attacked my body with gusto!

There are several types of enzymes and each has their place and role in your digestion:
  1. Amylase: part of your saliva system
  2. Cellulase: breaks down fibre.
  3. Lactase: breaks down milk sugars
  4. Lipase breaks down fat molecules in the pancreas and the small intestine.
  5. Maltase: breaks down complex sugars
  6. Pepsin: Breaks larger proteins in to smaller peptides that protease can deal with.
  7. Phytase: concerns itself with general aspects of the digestion process, and especially with the production of B Vitamins
  8. Protease is secreted in the stomach, pancreas and small intestine and has the job of breaking down protein molecules.
  9. Sucrase: breaks down sugars.
(There are other types of enzymes.  One of the most famous is rennet which comes from ruminating animals such as cows.  It is used both in making many cheeses and also often in wine and beer making.)

It turns out that enzymes are your auto-immune system.  Methotrexate inhibits the production of Folic Acid, otherwise known as Vitamin B9.  It does this by blocking the related enzyme.

The most important thing to remember is to ensure you get lots of enzymes, especially as you get older.  That means eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and ideally raw.

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