Enzymes in food add to the enzymes made by our bodies. This is a nutritional benefit in addition to the vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients in the food. Some foods—all raw or cultured—have a high level of enzymes and are listed here. For the benefits of these foods, see the discussion below the list.
This list is compiled from Edward Howell's Enzyme Nutrition, Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions, Anthony Cichoke's The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy, and Steve Meyerowitz's Wheatgrass, Nature's Finest Medicine.
All foods are raw or (in the case of some fermented foods) never heated after fermentation.
Saw palmetto berries
Sprouts (According to Howell, sprouts contain the most enzymes when they are 1/2" long.)
Wheat germ (raw)
Coconut (but not coconut oil)
Germinated tree nuts
Butter (raw and unpasteurized)
Milk (raw and unpasteurized)
Other cultured dairy products
Pickled vegetables (raw)
Soy sauce (traditionally made)
Enzymes are special proteins that act as the life force in living beings. In both plants and animals, enzymes carry out all the activities of metabolism. Some enzymes from the plant or animal's life are retained in uncooked food. When you eat this food, the enzymes can continue their activity.
One activity is to help digest the food itself!
Other foods contain enzymes that affect other foods.
As we age, or under toxic conditions, our body's ability to produce enzymes is compromised. Enzymes in food, or enzyme supplements, help take the pressure off our need to produce digestive enzymes. In particular, an overworked pancreas can be relieved.
As enzyme researcher Edward Howell put it, food enzymes add to our “enzyme potential.”
Consumed enzymes do indeed help our bodies in ways not thoroughly understood, but the case for their promoting health and alleviating disease has been well made.
High-enzyme foods are high-calorie, special superfoods such as those listed above that are also raw or never re-heated.
The heating of food destroys its enzymes. Cooking, canning, pasteurization – all permanently deactivate any enzymes in food.
All foods that have ANY enzymes are raw. They are:
The foods in this list have especially high levels of enzymes.
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