Today I will elaborate on the importance of enzyme-rich diets to prevent ( and reverse ) chronic diseases, and also how enzymes actually mediate your sexual function. Then I will elaborate more on sexual health.
OUR DIET SEVERELY LACKING IN ENZYMES
Our modern-day diet severely lacks in fresh, raw foods. We eat mostly cooked, processed foods. Sometimes, in a day, no raw food whatsoever is ingested. So the benefits of food enzymes are not available. As a result, we have to produce a lot of our own (endogenous) enzymes. Thus, our enzyme-producing glands are relatively larger compared to those of animals. Except for pets which are given cooked and processed food by their human masters, all animals eat only raw foods.
Our pancreas is at least twice bigger than that of the sheep, horse or cattle, in proportion to body weight. This is in spite of man having the enzyme amylase in saliva to help the pancreatic enzymes, whilst those animals do not have that in their saliva.
Autopsies done on Filipinos (who ate cooked white rice) showed that their pancreas were 25-50% larger than Americans who did not eat cooked white rice.
Enlarged secreting organs indicate they are overwork, and likely to exhaust their production and secretion functions early, causing enzyme deficiency and problems in many other organs that depend on these enzymes. This will lead to organ malfunction, disease, and premature aging.
SWITCH TO RAW FOOD, ENZYME-RICH DIET
We only need enough calories to sustain daily activities. Those who are overweight should eat calorie-deficit diets to burn away the stored fat. Eat nutrient-dense foods that provide sufficient nutrients in spite of low calories. For example, the calories required to chew, digest and absorb spinach is more than that it contains. Thus you will lose weight after eating spinach, yet it provides you with plenty of nutrients. Now you know why Popeye is so strong, lives long, eats tons of spinach, and except for his bulging muscles, is so thin. But remember, if you cook it, the enzymes are destroyed. Your diet must provide ALL nutrients, including sufficient enzymes. The best diet should therefore include plenty of fresh, raw, ( preferably organic ) foods.
Since the typical modern diet is severely lacking in most nutrients, including enzymes, supplementation becomes necessary unless you can diligently change your diet to comply with all the nutrients required. Fortunately, there are now many enzyme supplements to help us overcome the enzyme deficiencies caused by our diets.
There is also danger in blindly following some of the fad diets. Even if there are good points, do not forget the potential negative effects. For example, the current fad is high-protein diets. If not enough enzymes are available, the metabolic by-products ( excess urea in this case ) will overload the kidneys. With that, there may also be excessive loss of minerals, especially calcium.
My advice is to stick to low-calorie, high-nutrient, high-enzyme diet that includes lots of raw food. That means lots of veggies ( raw if possible, and avoid the starchy ones ), a variety of fruits ( but be sparing in the amount since fruits are also calorie-rich ), and just sufficient proteins and healthy fats. The fruits and veggies themselves already provide most of the essential nutrients.
ENZYME-DEPLETED DIETS AND DISEASE
The role of enzymes is very much under-estimated, even by health enthusiasts. Many do not know that taking their supplements without adequate enzymes means that the nutrients will be under-utilized. For example, in certain people, 3mg of zinc taken with the appropriate enzymes is equivalent to taking 70mg of zinc alone. That is true for many other nutrients too. Since vitamins and minerals play important roles in preventing many diseases, just imagine the impact of not having adequate enzymes on our overall health.
A study at George Washington University involved feeding patients 50 gm of raw starch or cooked starch, and compared the effect on blood glucose levels. In the raw starch group, the glucose level fluctuated by a maximum of only 3mg/100ml in the 2 hours after eating. In the cooked starch group, however, the glucose level rose rapidly by ( an average of ) 56mg/100ml in ½ hour, only reduced slightly at 1 hour, and dropped down drastically ( to 11mg/100ml above normal ) at 2 hours. This illustrates the swinging glucose levels after a meal of cooked simple-carbohydrates ( with high glycemic index, including our own staple refined white rice ).
The average Malaysian meal includes more than 100gm of cooked white rice. Most of us are familiar with the fullness and sleepiness after a heavy rice meal. Over time, the accompanying swings in insulin levels are believed to cause insulin-resistance, the major underlying factor for obesity, dyslipidemia (abnormal fats levels in the blood ), hypertension and diabetes ( collectively called Metabolic Syndrome X, which predisposes to heart disease, stroke, cancers, diabetic complications, other chronic diseases, and cancers ).
If you have diabetes, you should re-assess your enzyme adequacy. We see many diabetics still ending up with amputations, blindness and kidney failures in spite of modern drugs. Perhaps a re-look at the role of enzymes can change the situation.
Another study showed that a meal of cooked food caused WBCs ( leucocytes ) to increase because they have to contribute their enzymes for digestion. That means, the immune system is unnecessarily diverted for digestive functions. In the end, the immune system will also suffer. This does not happen after a meal of enzyme-rich raw foods. [ These studies are quoted in Food Enzymes by Dr Humbart Santillo ].
Our defence against a host of diseases, especially cancer, depends on an intact immune system. Enzymes ( together with free radicals, antibodies, and phagocytosis ) are used by our leucocytes to fight invaders and abnormal cells. A stressed or over-active immune system also results in a variety of auto-immune diseases that can even be fatal.
ENZYMES AND SEXUAL FUNCTION
Many of you may not have known ( until Viagra ) that enzymes play a very important role in penile erections in men and clitoral engorgement in women.
The body uses the universal chemical messenger nitric oxide ( it is the active agent in many body systems ) as mediator of these sexual functions, in which it functions as a neurotransmitter. The enzyme phosphodiesterase type 5 ( PDE5 ) is involved in the process, and drugs like sildenafil citrate ( Viagra ) are used to block or inhibit this enzyme so that erection is possible again ( or prolonged ) in those who have lost the ability. However, the expected equivalent effect on women has been disappointing.
Enzymes also play other important roles, including determining the ability of spermatozoa to fertilize the ova.
Sex is a very important part of health, and a very important part of life. It is arguably the strongest animal instinct – that ensures the continuity of the species. However, while animals only have sex for procreation ( and hence have “mating seasons”, or have sex only when “on heat” ), man has found sexual needs and gratification even outside of the reproductive function.
Sexual intimacy and fulfillment are very important components of an individual’s life, just as they are important prerequisites for happy marriages and relationships between couples. Sexuality has pervaded modern society, and the media’s preoccupation with everything sexual is testimony to this. Sex can also be the cause of many problems, to the individual and to the society.
Sexual health is an important indicator of overall health and aging. The ability to achieve and maintain erections often correlates with poor cardiovascular health. Sexual wellbeing is also a major component of holistic wellness that includes physical, mental, psychosocial and spiritual wellbeing.
In the past, discussing sex was a taboo, and many lived their lives silently suffering from being sexually frustrated. Now society is more informed and open, and sex and sexuality can be properly discussed. The availability of sexologists and sex therapists have helped many who would otherwise suffer unnecessarily.
Sexuality and sexual performance depend a lot on qi and hormones. Qigong practitioners have long made headlines for various stunts that exhibit their sexual strength. This is not surprising as sexual energy is qi itself. If you practise certain Qigong exercises, you will be as virile as in your younger days.
I have been privileged to know Dr Nick Delgado, a world authority on fitness, hormones, sexuality and aging. He is the anti-aging and sexual health adviser to the doctors, and is much sought after by international forums. I am honoured to be asked to give a preview on a seminar on Sexual Health and Healing that he and Prof Kristina Kauffman will be conducting. I will also share some Qigong exercises for improving sexual performance.