best natural foods

Benefits of digestive enzymes - not from raw foods

The benefits of digestive enzymes is another major argument put forward to advocate a raw food diet.

The average person probably does not know much, or anything at all, about enzymes, let alone the benefits of digestive enzymes. In my case, the first time I came across the word "enzymes" was when a read the book, Raw Vegetable Juices, by Norman W Walker.

That was in 1985 and I was 30 years old. Needless to say, I was fascinated. How come all my life I never knew about enzymes and their vital roles in human health?

And gosh! Enzymes are destroyed simply by mild heating. It meant that all the cooked food I had been eating were totally devoid of enzymes. Or, as the author of the book put it, I had all along been eating "dead food". Whoa!

Being totally ignorant about enzymes at that time, I was fully convinced about the importance and benefits of digestive enzymes. I was sold on the idea that eating a raw food diet was THE WAY to health.

Understanding enzymes

It took me many years to understand more about enzymes - and to realise that what advocates of a raw food diet say about the benefits of digestive enzymes is not totally correct. But first, here are the parts that are correct:

But does this mean we need raw foods to enjoy the benefits of digestive enzymes and attain good health? If so, how did the human race survive more than 10,000 years or longer - and remain relatively healthy until the last 100 years or so - eating mainly cooked food?

When I learned more about enzymes, I realised that the benefits of digestive enzymes have been way exaggerated by raw food diet advocates. Yes, enzymes are important. But they are not so critical that we need to eat a primarily raw food diet.

This is what else I found out:

A dubious contention from hard-core raw food propaganda centers on the need for Enzymes and the claim that cooking heat destroys valuable enzymes. The fallacy that’s promoted here is that the fragile heat-sensitive enzymes held within the plants we consume catalyze chemical reactions that occur in humans and aid in the food digestion. However, this is simply not true.

Benefits of cooking

Finally, if you really need help with digestion, try this - COOKING!

In many cases, cooking makes food easier to digest - by altering and breaking down the structure of plant cells so that our body's own digestive enzymes have an easier job to do.

Cooking also destroys certain substances that might be described as "anti-enzymes", such as anti-amylases and anti-proteases. It means that, in many cases, you need less enzymes to digest cooked food than to digest raw foods.

All this is not to say that digestive enzymes are useless. Sure, they can be helpful. And sure, some people - especially those who had eaten lots of meat and cooked foods in the past - will benefit from eating more raw fruits and vegetables.

There is no need to switch to a diet of mainly raw foods just to enjoy the benefits of digestive enzymes. Eating cooked foods, with maybe a salad and some pickles on the side, will do just fine for most people.

The supposed benefits of digestive enzymes have been over-blown. And now, some health foods companies are making big money selling digestive enzymes - which are basically produced from "rotten" fruits and vegetables - at somewhat exhorbitant prices.

Don't be taken in for a ride. Wasting money on enzymes of doubtful value is just a small price to pay. The greater price is that, if you go overboard with eating raw foods, you may end up becomng weak. Your libido may suffer. Click here to understand more about the problems with being obsessed about raw foods and the benefits of digestive enzymes.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Kindly leave a comment in the box below.


(5 articles)
Cooking oils
(23 articles)
Diet plans (13 articles)
Fiber (3 articles)
Fish (3 articles)
Grains (17 articles)
Pasta (10 articles)
Pasta recipes
(>40 recipes)
Salt (11 articles)
(11 articles)
Soy products
(14 articles)
Vegetables (1 article)
Water (6 articles)
More sections to come
Natural Cancer Cures
Flu treatments
Stop Trans fats

Criteria for healthy diets
Blood type diet - Part I
Blood type diet - Part I
Blood type diet - safe?
High protein diets
Macrobiotic diet
Macrobiotic philosophy
Nutrition - limitations and problems
Raw food diet
Raw foods diet - a personal sharing
Digestive enzmes - how crucial are they?
What's a healthy vegetarian diet?
Vegan diet - healthy or inadequate?