Catalase is a protein found in cells of all organisms that converts hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen. The body produces catalase, but amounts decrease during the aging process, causing people to develop diseases such as cancer and conditions such as graying hair. Fortunately, catalase is found in a number of fruits and vegetables in large enough quantities to transform toxic oxidants to substances useful to the body.
Wheat Grass and Sprouts
According to the National Institute of Health, sprouts such as wheat and barley grass contain a high amount of antioxidants including catalase. Alfalfa, brussel sprouts and the young sprouts of dark green plants contain significantly higher amounts of catalase than older ones. Fresh, raw, organically grown plant foods are best to enhance effects as high temperatures, processing by food manufacturers and long storage times weaken or destroy catalase enzymes.
Many vegetables contain sufficient amounts of catalase to sustain health. Leeks, onions, broccoli, parsnips, zucchini, spinach, kale, radishes, carrots, red peppers, turnips, cucumbers, celery and red cabbage are rich in catalase while zucchini has less. Potatoes are an inexpensive, versatile source of catalase, and sweet potatoes are considered the most nutritious vegetable by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Avocadoes are one of the richest sources of catalase, but they are also high in fat.
While all fruits contain catalase, some have more than others. Kiwi, peaches, cherries, apricots, bananas, watermelon and pineapple have high amounts of catalase while apples and grapes have lower amounts. Though catalase is one of the more heat-resistant enzymes, cooking still decreases enzyme activity, so eating fruit raw provides higher amounts of catalase.
Although natural, whole foods are the best sources of antioxidant enzymes, supplements can provide catalase. The problem with catalase supplements is that they are often digested before they can reach tissues to break down the hydrogen molecules. Antioxidant supplements work best when formed from a combination of different enzymes. Vitamins or supplements made from whole foods that contain manganese, copper, zinc and selenium can provide the body with the necessary components to make more catalase.