Everyone loves to have their favorite delicacies and dishes. Food is the basic unit of life; which plays a vital role to keep us alive. The process of eating food is called; ingestion. After getting ingested, food passes through several mechanisms where they are broken, assimilated then digested. Here, we will be talking about “Enzymes” and their role in Nutrition.
What are Enzymes?
Enzymes are the chemical substances produced in the living organism. They are also the marvelous catalysts which are essential for life as they control all the chemical reactions that take place in a living system. Enzymes are the part of all living cells, including animals and plants. There are two types of Enzymes; Intracellular and Extracellular enzymes.
Enzymes which are used in the cells which make them are called intracellular enzymes; whereas enzymes which are produced in cells which secrete them to other parts of the body are known as extracellular enzymes. Digestive juices are an example of the latter type.
Why our mouth waters when we look at some delicious food?
Actually, when our mouth waters it is not the water; it is called saliva. Saliva is a kind of enzyme which is meant to soften and emulsify our foodstuffs. Now, a question arises when we see towards some yummy food and some delicacies; why our mouth starts watering? Actually, the salivary glands get active and start producing saliva which means to the breakdown of food.
Facts about Enzymes:-
- You must have seen, there are several syrups which are sweeter in taste are named as an enzyme. They are called Artificial enzymes which are made of several chemicals with some fruity flavour. It increases your appetite and also treats lack of hunger.
- There are around 20,000 enzymes there in body, but still, only 100 of them are known to us.
- Enzymes when mixed with food; form a part of it.
- Enzymes work nicely in moderate temperature; when it rises above 60°; permanently destroys their action. This is the reason, why we feel suffocate and indigestion occurs mostly during summers.
- Enzymes are the protein molecules made up of chains of amino acids.
Enzymes have their great impact and play a big role in nutrition. All the living processes need this to continue smoothly. Now, we will be having a look at the list of different types of Enzymes, their sources, substrates etc.
Enzymes in Human body
|Source of Enzyme||Name of the Enzyme||Substrate||Products|
|Mouth||Salivary amylase||Starch||Dextrins and Maltose|
|Gastric mucosa||Pepsin, rennin, Gastric lipase||Proteins, casein, Short and medium chained triglycerides||Polypeptides, Insoluble casein, Fatty acids and glycerol|
|Small intestine||Pancreatic Proteases trypsin, chymotrypsin, Pancreatic lipase||Proteins, polypeptides and Fats||Smaller polypeptides, amino acids, mono and dyglycerides|
|Intestinal mucosa Brushborder||Intestinal peptidases, Intestinal saccharidases, Maltase, Lactose||Polypeptides, Dipeptides, Lactose||Glucose, Fuctose, Smaller polypeptides|
Now, let’s move to another part of our topic. It is how enzymes work in the process of Nutrition. You all must be getting excited to know how actually this enzyme has its impact on nutrition process.
Mechanism of Enzymes in Nutrition:-
The process of digestion begins in the mouth which is also called oral cavity. The saliva in the mouth, besides helping to masticate the food carries an enzyme called ptyalin which begins the chemical action of digestion. It initiates the catabolism/breakdown of carbohydrates by converting starches into simple sugars. When the food is chewed, enzymatic actions proceed. It moves to the gears of the esophagus and reaches the stomach. There the food is kneaded and the physical action of peristalsis churns the solid food into a semi-solid amorphous mixture called chyme.
This mixture undergoes chemical changes initiated by gastric juices secreted by the walls of the stomach. The juice is the combination of mucus, hydrochloric acid, and gastric juices. It starts the breakdown of proteins into absorb-able amino acids also called polypeptides. The gastric juice has no effect upon starches or fats. When the chyme leaves the stomach and enters the stomach, it still contains much food which is in the form of raw material. Hence, the process of digestion is completed inside the small intestine by several juices.
Why Raw food contains enzymes in abundance?
Apart from cooked food, raw stuff is considered as the best. Why so? It is also said raw vegetables and fruits are better than those of cooked ones. Raw stuff contains enzymes in abundance, due to the process of cooking, pasteurizing, pickling, smoking, and other processes destroy the enzymes present in it. Studies have revealed that the body without sufficient raw materials may tire and produce fewer enzymes year after year.
Due to this, our body also stops responding to such nutrients; which ultimately leads to afflictions. This may lead to wearing out of body processes and consequently worn out looks. Eat well and live well!
She is a learner and health conscious person. She is always interested in seeking knowledge regarding Ayurveda, herbal medicine and Yoga to cure any health ailments naturally.
She holds a Bachelor Degree in Alternative Medicine and interested in Naturopathy.