What are enzymes & how do they help keep us healthy?
Enzymes are proteins that speed up reactions that take place within our body. They are found throughout our bodies and without them we would not be able to live. Digestive enzymes are a category of enzymes that help us breakdown and assimilate the nutrients from our food at a much faster rate. The most important thing to remember when it comes to enzymes is that they allow us to extract and absorb more nutrition from the food we eat. Higher nutrition from our food provides us with more nutrients to build, repair and maintain a healthy body. Enzymes have been shown to increase our energy production, increase the absorption of oxygen, fight infections, speed wound healing, reduce inflammation, carry out toxic waste, dissolve blood clots, regulate hormone function, and slow the aging process.
The body produces many enzymes naturally, but real food often comes with added enzymes to assist further with digestion. Although our body produces enzymes, food enzymes are also needed as we do not produce enough enzymes on our own. For example, lets consider the breakdown of an avocado. Our body produces an enzyme (called lipase), which helps in the breakdown of fats. Lipase is released as soon as our body begins digesting fatty foods like avocado. Lipase can also be found in fatty foods like avocado, which further assists us in the breakdown fats. Having enzymes present in food relieves the body of having to do all the work on it's own and helps us to reserve enzymes and energy.
Foods high in enzymes
Are you getting enough enzymes?
Unfortunately, the majority of us are not getting enough enzymes from our foods. If you eat a natural diet high in real foods, including the ones listed above, and prepare your meals fresh you are more than likely getting the enzymes you need. However, if your diet consists of packaged and/or processed foods or you eat out often, chances are you are not getting enough of natural enzymes.
For thousands of years humans have consumed foods high in enzymes, as they ate a diet filled with foods directly from nature. Our modern world, however, looks much different. Many foods today are made to last (be shelf stable) and are highly processed. This processing destroys the enzymes that we once got from our diet naturally. Enzymes are sensitive and are easily destroyed during heating and processing. Packaged and processed foods (foods that come from a box/package) are most often devoid of enzymes, as this helps them stay stable (last) on the shelf. Remember, from above, it is an enzymes job to breakdown food and that is exactly what it does. If your food does not spoil in a timely manner (as is the case with packaged & processed foods), chances are it is missing the necessary enzymes. Each time we eat we need these enzymes to be present to properly digest and absorb nutrients from that food.
The problem with a diet low in enzymes
A diet low in enzymes can cause many problems but primarily it over taxes our system. We need enzymes to breakdown our food, so a diet low in enzymes will cause the body to work harder creating extra enzymes. Low enzyme diets can place extra stress on organs such as the pancreas and gallbladder, causing them to constantly be working at building new enzymes. Over-stressed organs can begin to wear out and experience dysfunction. This is where digestion issues can arise. In addition, we also use more resources and energy when creating new enzymes, which can lead to fatigue. Lower amounts of body produced enzymes can result in improper digestion of food resulting in inflammation. Inflammation is believed to be a key cause in many chronic diseases and is important to control. Making sure you are getting enough enzyme rich foods is one way to help keep inflammation at bay and maintain healthy and happy digestion.
Enzymes & Food Intolerance/Sensitivities
Food intolerances and sensitivities are quickly becoming common as a result of our modern food system. As mentioned above, processing and heating kills beneficial enzymes making them harder for our body to properly digest. Modern dairy is one such example. Most dairy products are heated (pasteurized), which kills and destroys naturally occurring enzymes, including the enzyme Lactase. Lactase helps to break down Lactose, a sugar found in milk. The Lactase enzyme is needed for us to be able to properly breakdown and absorb nutrients from milk. However, when this enzyme is destroyed during the pasteurization process, milk and dairy become much harder to digest, resulting in poor digestion and even lactose intolerance. Raw milk and dairy products contain this valuable enzyme and many people who are lactose intolerant can consume raw dairy products without problems.
Gluten sensitivities and intolerance are also on the rise as well. Properly prepared whole grains, including whole wheat, contain enzymes necessary to assist with the breakdown and absorption of nutrients. The problem arises when grain products are processed. Again, the over processing and improper preparation of grain products kill important enzymes making digestion of them difficult. Proper preparation of grains and bread require either soaking or souring (think real sourdoughs) to enhance enzyme activity, improving and easing digestion.
How To Get More Enzymes In Your Diet
Consuming plenty of the foods listed above will help ensure you are getting enough digestive enzymes to support your health. Listed below are some of the foods with the highest levels of food enzymes.
Posted by Dr. Keri Linane, D.C., Chiropractor
Revive Chiropractic Studio
Montclair Village, Oakland
Nutrient dense foods are real foods in their whole from (i.e. not processed or very little processing). These foods contain higher nutrient levels and provide the body with better quality nutrition than their conventional counterparts. The foods on this list are free of preservatives, additives, fillers/binders, dyes and other non nutritious ingredients. These foods will provide us the highest quality of nutrients and help us to build a healthy and well nourished body.
For more information on nutrition or nutrient dense foods please contact Dr. Keri Linane
*This food list was created from the Oakland, Ca Whole Foods. Some of these foods are locally made and may not be available at your local Whole Foods. Please look for comparable options using the keywords provided at the end of the list.
Posted by Dr. Keri Linane, Montclair Oakland Chiropractor
Revive Chiropractic Studio
Yogurt is packed with probiotics and beneficial nutrients.
What to look for
My favorite yogurt: Saint Benoit Plain Yogurt found at Berkeley Bowl, Whole Foods, South Berkeley Farmers Market, North Berkeley Farmers Market.
Kombucha is a fermented tea that comes in a variety of flavors. It is full of probiotics, enzymes and beneficial nutrients.
There are lots of amazing companies that offer a wide array of options. The only company I would not recommend is GT/Synergy Kombucha.
My Favorite kombucha: House Kombucha found at Whole Foods. I also prefer kombucha from the South Berkeley farmers market and Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley.
Traditionally pickles were prepared by barrel aging them to preserve them. The aging process creates probiotics that nurture us.
What to look for:
My favorite real pickles: Sonoma Brinery Fresh Pickles & Bubbies Kosher Dill Pickles. Both are found at Berkeley Bowl, Whole Foods (at the end of the vegetable isle) (I love any fermented products from either of these companies), South Berkeley Farmer Market, Three Stone Hearth
Sauerkraut & Kimchi
Sauerkraut and kimchi are both traditionally prepared ferments made from vegetables. They both come in a variety of flavors and are loaded with beneficial probiotic and healing nutrients.
What to look for:
My favorites: Bubbies, Sonoma Brinery & Farmhouse Culture all found at Whole Foods (at the end of the vegetable isle) and Berkeley Bowl. I also enjoy fermented products from the South Berkeley farmers market & from Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley.
Kefir is an aged dairy product that contains lots of healthy probiotics.
What to look for
My favorite: Raw kefir from Organic Pastures Dairy found at the Grand Lake farmers market in Oakland.
Raw Dairy Products Like Whole Milk
Traditionally all diary came in the form of raw dairy. Today, however, the majority of our dairy is pastured aka heated. The heat destroys the naturally occurring bacteria and enzymes in the dairy and thus we left with a poorer version of the real thing. (For more information please visit http://www.organicpastures.com/faqs/) Adding raw diary offers us a much more nutrient dense option filled with healthy probiotics and enzymes. I encourage you to research raw dairy pros and cons and make an informed discussion on wether you would like to add raw dairy to your diet.
What to look for:
My favorites companies:
Raw: Organic Pastures Dairy found at Village Market, Grand Lake Farmers Market, Berkeley Bowl
Low heat pasteurized: If you decide not to consume raw dairy Saint Benoit offers low heat pasteurized dairy that is gently heated (killing off some bacteria but leaving other in tact. Their products are non homogenized so the good quality fat is still kept in its natural form. Saint Benoit dairy products ca be found at Whole Foods, South Berkeley farmers market, North Berkeley farmers market.
Water kefir drinks offer a probiotics in a variety of different natural flavors.
My Favorite company is Living Apothecary found at Berkeley Bowl and Whole Foods. I also enjoy kefir drinks made weekly by Three Stone Hearth.
There are many other foods that can be found or made in a fermented version. These foods will offer us healthy bacteria/probiotics as well.
Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley offers a variety of freshly prepared ferments including ketchup, mustard, butter and more. I highly suggest checking them out. (They also offer a long list of prepared healthy and nutritious real whole foods, I love them!)
A Note On Adding Probiotics
If you are introducing probiotics for the first time you will want to start off with one small serving per day. Probiotics will help detox the body and taking too much without first building up to it can cause uncomfortable detox side effects such as headaches and nausea. If you experience any new symptoms after starting with probiotics please stop and consult your healthcare practitioner. You may need to lower your daily intake and build over time.
If you would like more information on adding probiotics to your diet, please contact Dr. Keri Linane
Posted by Dr. Keri Linane, Chiropractor
Revive Chiropractic Studio, Montclair Village Oakland, Ca
Nutrient dense foods are real whole foods that provide us with the highest quality of nutrition. They have been left in their natural whole (i.e. not processed) and do not have any additives or preservatives. These are foods that contain the highest nutrient levels created by the manner in which they were grown or raised.
Most of us are aware that packaged and processed foods are bad for our health and that we should avoid such foods. However, when it comes to simpler foods (i.e. milk, bread, vegetables, fruits, cooking oil, etc.) we are often left confused on which food choices are healthiest. The most helpful thing to remember is that the highest quality food comes from foods produced in a traditional manner.
Traditional fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes are produce grown in nutrient rich soil, which provides the growing plant with plenty of health giving qualities. They are not sprayed with chemicals such as herbicides and/or pesticides (these have been shown to cause cancer) and are picked at the peak of ripeness. Unfortunately, much of the produce found in supermarkets, including organic produce, are often picked before this point of ripeness. The reason for this is simple: ripe foods go bad quicker than non-ripe foods. To ensure the produce is able to make it from the farm to shipping (food is often shipped throughout America and the world) to the store shelves to your home, the food must be picked early. This reduces the amount of nutrients and leaves us with an inferior food. Selecting produce that is picked at the highest point of ripeness will ensure high nutrient levels and will also taste much better. Fresh, ripe, local and seasonal high quality produce gives us the most nutrients and can be found at your local farmers markets.
Traditional meat and animal products are foods that have been raised in natural ways. Today, the vast majority of our meat and dairy products come from animals raised in very poor environments. Most of these animals are raised in factory farms where they are fed an unnatural diet of corn and soy. Corn and soy are very high in omega 6 fats, which causes all sorts for health issues for these animals. Remember, the animal is what it eats and so are we. Eating meat from animals raised on corn and soy creates an a meat high in omega 6. Eating this meat increases our omega 6 consumption causing inflammation and disease in us as well.
In addition, factory farmed animals are usually keep indoors decreasing their amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for good health. Factory farmed animals have also been shown to be sicker which is why they usually contain antibiotics. Consuming meat from these animals increases our exposure to antibiotics, which will kill of important probiotic bacteria in our digestive tracts. Increased antibiotic use has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases. These are just a few of the long list of reason why factory meat is of much poorer nutrition and may even be harmful to our health.
Traditionally raised animals, also known as pasture raised and/or grassfed animals, are far superior. These animals are raised in traditional fashion on pasture in the open air. The open air allows the animals to absorb vitamin D from the sun, which is found in high concentrations in their meat, fat and organs. The highest sources of vitamin D for us are found in animal products from pastured and/or grassfed animals.
Pasture raised and/ or grassfed animals eat natural diets that nature intended. Cows eat a natural diet of fresh grass (cows were not meant to eat corn and soy). Chickens eat leftover table scraps, grass, bugs, etc., the way nature intended. Pigs eat leftovers, tree roots and other natural foods. These natural diets produce meat, milk and eggs that are higher in omega 3 fat (what we need more of) and leaner in omega 6 fats (what we already get too much of). They contain much higher level of nutrients and increase our own health and wellbeing.
Lastly, lets take a look at the oils and fats used in our diets. Traditional oil and fats included coconut, olive oil, butter, lard and tallow. These fats have been used for thousands of years and provide us with many healthy benefits. Recently, however, new fats and oils have been introduced. At the beginning of the 19th century hydrogenated and vegetable oils started being processed and sold in markets. Examples of these include Crisco, margarine, corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil. Although the name vegetable oil sounds nutritious these oils are anything but. Vegetable oils by nature are by nature very unstable. They spoil easily when exposed to air and light and turn rancid (we cannot detect this change in taste). Although these oils are used widely for fried foods, they are actually highly unstable when heated. When heated these oils breakdown and create toxins (called free radicals) that have been linked to inflammation, cancer and heart disease. This is the reason friend foods are so bad for us. Packaged foods producers love to use these fats because they are cheaper than using high quality fats. In addition, vegetable oils are also highly processed stripping them of any nutritional value they may have had. Please avoid these fats whenever possible as they have been shown to be harmful to our health and do not provide us with any nutritional value.
Traditional fats and oils, on the other hand, are very nutritious for us. Fats that are solid at room temperature like butter, lard, tallow and coconut oil are stable at high temperature and don’t breakdown. This makes them perfect for cooking and frying with. These fats and oils are loaded vitamins and minerals. Look for pasture raised and/or grassfed when purchasing fats like butter, lard and tallow. When purchasing coconut or olive oil look for oils that are unrefined, organic, raw (not heated), and unfiltered. These will provide the highest quality in nutrients as some of these oils have been processed depleting them of their nutritional value.
For more on nutrition and advice please contact Dr. Keri Linane
Post by Dr. Keri Linane, Oakland Chiropractor
Revive Chiropractic Studio
*bones should be cooked before making broth. If you have raw bones makes sure to first roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then add to pot with the rest of the indgredients.
Add all ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a low simmer for 24-48hrs. (the longer it goes, the more nutrients in the broth). Alternatively you can use a crock pot on low for the same length of time.
Broth will keep in the fridge for 5 days or you can simply freeze some for later use.
Benefits of Bone Broth
Buy Bone Broth Locally/Online
As with everything, I believe moderation is best. I usually recommend a small cup or bowl of soup made with broth about 3 times a week. If you are healing from a sickness or disease you may want to consume more but should consult with your knowledgable health care practitioner before doing so.
If you have any of the following you should consult a health care practitioner who is knowledgeable about bone broth and nutrition: anxiety and panic disorders, OCD, autism spectrum disorders, migraines, hyperactivity, ALS, Parkinson’s, tourettes, PANDAS, seizures, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue, SIBO, or are sensitive to histamine.
By Dr. Keri Linane, Oakland Chiropractor
Traditional diets have been found to be much higher in nutrients than todays modern food supply. Foods made for high production, factory production and mass markets do not offer us the same levels of nutrients that come from smaller scale, organic and biodynamic practices. Traditionally raised foods supply us with higher levels of vital vitamins, minerals probiotics, and other valuable nutrients that are missing in our current food system. They have been shown to increase health and wellness while decreasing or reversing disease. Conventional foods come with increased risk for disease, inflammation, weight gain and depression. Making the switch to real whole foods can offer great benefit your health and happiness.
Traditional foods can be found at your local farmers markets and some health food stores.
Local resources for higher nutrient foods
For more information on the benefits of healthy eating and reversing disease through real foods contact Dr. Keri Linane
PosteBy Dr. Keri Linane
Montclair Oakland Chiropractor
Farmers Markets are wonderful places to shop for real, unprocessed/low processed foods that are much more nutritious. These foods are full of vitamins, minerals, natural probiotics, enzymes and other beneficial nutrients adding to increased health, quality and flavor. Not only will you increase the quality of your foods and nutrition by shopping at farmers markets, you will also be helping to create a more sustainable environment and local economy by supporting your local organic and beyond organic farmers directly. Its a win win for everyone!
By Dr. Keri Linane, Chiropractor
Revive Chiropractic, Oakland, Ca
The science on saturated fats is growing quickly. Saturated fats, once deemed unhealthy, are now being considered some of the healthiest food to eat. Fat provides us with much needed energy, provides building blocks for our body and brain, keeps us fuller longer and helps to increase our metabolism. Its even great for our skin.
Make sure to seek out unprocessed sources of fats such as pasture-raised animal fats, cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil. These fats, as opposed to vegetable oils which burn at low temperatures and become toxic to us, are great to cook with as they can easily withstand the higher temperatures of cooking. Vegetable oil, with the exception of olive oil, are highly processed and unstable resulting in toxic overload to our bodies. Turns out our grandparents had it right when they cooked with animal fats!
Dr. Keri Linane, Montclair Oakland Chiropractor
Revive Chiropractic Studio