Enzymes and Phytochemicals

Natural, whole raw foods contain numerous enzymes and phytochemicals that modern science has discovered are important for proper nutrition in humans and laboratory animals. This holds true for dogs and cats as well.

Enzymes are specialized protein substances that are involved in all the dog’s activities. Even thinking requires enzymes. Enzymes are found abundantly in fresh, minimally processed natural foods.

Enzymes are deactivated or destroyed at temperatures above 118 to 170 degrees F; therefore there are no enzymes in processed dog foods. This forces the dog’s digestive enzymes to do all the work and perhaps puts a strain on the dog’s ability to manufacture necessary metabolic enzymes.

It is believed that one of the reasons we see such immediate improvements with older dogs when converting them from kibble to raw meat-based diets is because of the increased levels of enzymes they are getting. As a dog ages, the secretion of enzymes is gradually reduced and the benefits of eating natural foods with enzymes increases.

When we think of disease-fighting nutrients, we no longer think of A or E or C. We seek out essential nutrients, phytochemicals and flavonoids in produce and herbs. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring compounds in vegetables and fruits that are getting increasing attention from researchers looking into the connection between diet and disease. Some phytochemicals function as antioxidants. Epidemiological evidence from more than 200 studies links consumption of foods rich in phytochemicals with decreased risks for certain diseases ranging from some cancers to aging to some forms of dysphasia. For instance, the sulforaphane found in broccoli have been shown to help prevent certain types of cancers.

Fruits and vegetables have hundreds of antioxidant compounds. Some, like vitamin C, are destroyed by heat. There is a growing consensus among researchers that a variety of whole foods — not supplements — should be the source for antioxidants. Many of the antioxidants identified as having a health-protective effect represent a group of compounds found in the intact food, which in concert provide the health-protective effects. The selected antioxidant alone will not yield the entire health benefit. “Vitamin research has only scratched the surface in understanding subclinical deficiency states, bioavailability, and nutrient-nutrient interaction.”(The Nutrition Desk Reference, Garrison and Somer, 1995.) One needs to eat the natural, intact vegetable or fruit, with the full complement of natural phytochemicals, to yield the entire health benefit. Raw forms of vegetables and fruits are the most consistently associated with lower risk of cancer. (Steinmetz and Potter, “Vegetables, fruits, and cancer.” 1991).

In sum, people, laboratory animals, dogs, and cats need some whole, intact foods in order to be at their best. One cannot replace or add all the enzymes, antioxidants and phytochemicals that are destroyed or altered in processing.


Laurence Johnston

8 years ago

We all know that people need real, whole, minimally processed foods in order to thrive. So do dogs and cats. I’m sure no one here would want their children to live exclusively on a diet of only processed foods, like Special K¬ or Total¬ cereals. Why would you want your dogs or cats to eat only highly processed foods? Dogs and cats, like people, to be at their best, need a variety of whole minimally processed foods: meats, vegetables and fruits containing natural enzymes, phytochemicals and flavonoids.

Google Review

  • My dogs LOVE their new food!! I used to feed them dry kibble and they would leave their food in the bowls for 2 days before they would eat. Now they wake me up in the morning ready to eat. They also have so much more energy, they act like they are puppies again. The customer service is awesome! Too bad all companies don't have this kind of service. I will continue to buy Steve's Real Food for my dogs.

    Kelley Dillon Avatar
    Kelley Dillon
    11/18/2017
  • CONVENIENT, RELIABLE, DOGS LOVE THE FOOD I switched my dogs to a raw diet about 2 months ago. My older dog was panting a lot and he had a potato sized growth on his shoulder. The growth is now the size of an egg and his excessive panting has stopped. My younger dog was overweight despite the fact that she was very active and on a strict low calorie diet. She has slimmed down quite a bit.

    Trish C Avatar
    Trish C
    10/22/2017
  • We were skeptical of feeding raw. Finally we decided to take the plunge. The first surprise was, my dogs loved it. And the goat milk yogurt is a complete hit! They all love it. We had one small issue with the shipping and after one email everything was taken care of. But now that it's been several months we have noticed many other things. None of my dogs chew on their feet anymore. None of my dogs have itchy flaky skin anymore. And they are all pretty and shiny with tons of energy.

    Denise Moitoza Avatar
    Denise Moitoza
    8/12/2017
  • My dog was a picky eater and overweight. After 4 months of eating this raw diet he is almost at his recommended weight. I no longer have to coax him to eat by doctoring up his kibble. He eats the food as is and empties his bowl right away.

    Carrie Thompson Avatar
    Carrie Thompson
    12/10/2017
  • I wanted to give a shout out to Tara at the corporate office. She really went above and beyond! I had several questions about switching my dog over to raw food and the transition that's involved. She met with me in person and took the time to listen and gave me some great suggestions/feedback to my questions. She shared what her own dog went through and how raw dog food helped. Tara made me feel comfortable and was so kind and thoughtful to take the time out of her busy day to be so helpful. My dog is LOVING the food and has been transitioning very smoothly. Thanks so much for being so awesome, Tara. It meant a lot to me and because of the experience I had and the kindness you showed to me, I will continue to be a grateful customer and will recommend Steve's to all my fellow dog moms and dads.

    Susan Romney Avatar
    Susan Romney
    6/20/2018

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