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Let's look at why fresh fruit and vegetables are so important for your body. So, all foods contain enzymes. Food enzymes are complex proteins whose job is to break down foods in your digestive system. Generally, they don’t get used up in the digestive process but continue to work for quite a while repeating the same action over and over again.

When you bite into an apple and leave it for a little while it starts to go brown. Do you know why this happens? It is a process known as ‘oxidation’ and is driven by enzymes. Oxidation is common to all life. It is the way energy is released from living cells so that it can be used to build other things. The question for us is: how can we find ways of using the enzymes in the food that we eat, to make it easier for our digestive system?

We need to understand that enzymes are large and complex and that they are easily damaged by heat. So the first golden rule is eat your food raw. Cooking food destroys all the living enzymes. Many vegetables and fruits are rich sources of enzymes and probably one of the best ways of obtaining these is by juicing. There is nothing like a glass of fresh vegetable juice in the morning. You can really feel the difference in your energy quite quickly. Equally, many fresh fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients as well as enzymes. But remember, as soon as you break a fruit or vegetable open or damage it in any way, the enzymes in the fruit starts to break it down. So it is very important that you drink the juices immediately after they have been squeezed or pressed. This ensures that the maximum amount of activity is present in the food as it travels through your digestive system. Also the fact that you have liquidised the food means that there is a lot less physical breaking down that needs to be done, and the essential nutrients in that food can be released much more quickly!

So what you juice is largely a matter of taste, although certain foods have particularly useful properties. Pineapple, for instance, contains a powerful enzyme called bromelain which breaks down certain proteins, so it helps the stomach’s digestion. Papaya contains papain which breaks down different proteins and also has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it helps the body deal with inflammation (we will discuss why inflammation happens and how the body deals with it in another post).

It is important to realise that vitamins, minerals, trace elements and other essential nutrients can often stay active and available in food that has been processed for months. However, living enzymes have a very short shelf life unless they are processed in a special way. This is why we stress the importance of eating fresh whenever possible. There can often be great benefits in taking an enzyme supplement to help your digestive system to cope with the food you eat, but at the end of the day, fresh is best!

Again, we’ve returned to the age old question: which one is the best one for me? In later posts, we will discuss a simple and powerful way of finding the answers these questions. It is called muscle testing and you will be able to learn how to do it on our website. My next post will be looking at the principles of healing.

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