Alive or Dead Enzymes - Does it matter?

edited December 2010 in Other Stuff

My dad was talking to me last night about enzymes, and he mentioned that plant enzymes are created to help the plant, and when we eat them they’re not beneficial to us. So, weather they’re alive or dead when we eat them, it shouldn’t matter.

Of course, I had to do some research before I really took in what he said…

I found this:…

What do you guys think?


  • This sounds very likely to me since many vegetables are difficult to digest and therefore nutrients aren’t bioavilable. Cruciferous vegetables for example aren’t optimal on a raw diet. I also feel that scientists don’t know everything that happens with the enzymes, the symbiotic relationship live foods have in the body and many other characteristics that live foods have. I do know how they’ve affected me. Many of the digestive problems that people eating cooked foods have come from the types of food they eat, dairy, gluten and such. Our bodies don’t always produce the enzymes to digest those. We don’t have the same issues with raw foods. Digestion isn’t the only issue though. We also need proteolytic enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics that come from live food. This is just my opinion. I don’t think that eating lightly steamed vegetables is a bad idea.

  • I’m still in transition, and probably only eating about 70% raw for the time being. But I would someday love to see myself up to 100%. Before I do that, I want to understand what will be happening to my body, which nutrients I will be no longer consuming that are in cooked foods, and what the benefits are from eating 100% raw.

    I guess what I’m trying to figure out here is exactly how does the heating of enzymes in plants effect how my body is effected by them… are they effected at all, or do I just feel better because I’m not eating the starchy foods that I usually eat when I eat cooked foods?

    I thought that one of the main reasons to eat raw was that there was an advantage to eating the plant enzymes that are unheated… but after reading the following (taken from the link provided above), I’m not so sure if that’s true:

    … However, after they are ingested, the enzymes contained in plants do not function as enhancements or replacements for human digestive enzymes. These molecules exist to serve the plant’s purpose, not ours. The plant enzymes get digested by our own digestive juices along with the rest of the food and are absorbed and utilized as nutrients.

    Contrary to what many raw-food web sites claim, the enzymes contained in the plants we eat do not catalyze chemical reactions that occur in humans. The plant enzymes merely are broken down into simpler molecules by our own powerful digestive juices. Even when the food is consumed raw, plant enzymes do not aid in their own digestion inside the human body. It is not true that eating raw food demands less enzyme production by your body, and dietary enzymes inactivated by cooking have an insignificant effect on your health and your body’s enzymes.

    Has anyone done any research on this topic?

  • i just read a fabulous book called “in defense of food.”

    in it, the author talks about americans and “nutrionism” and how what nutritionists purport to know about WHY certain foods are good for us/not good for us is based on a lot of supposition and reductionism.

    this enzyme thing seems to be the same thing. in other cultures, humans draw from a long tradition of “what works”/”what’s healthy.” growing up in france, the only “diet” there was was “eat less, eat salad.” in the US (i’m just assuming you are writing from the US…) we are constantly stabbing in the dark for shortcuts. how we can eat more of _ and STILL lose weight.

    personally, i think raw foods are great because (my own) “studies” have shown that i perform better, feel better, etc… when i eat them.

    like 123 i don’t think steamed veggies are harmful. common sense dictates that eating LIGHTLY is better.

  • I’m not trying to start a fight but there is an excellent reason to eat plant foods that have live enzymes that your father didn’t mention, SbutterAMfly, and that is that for some reason, the human body has difficulties digesting cooked and/or dead-enzyme foods(yes, cooked veggies and cooked fruits) and therefore, pores out extra bile and acid secretions, too much for the lining of the stomach and intestines. It simply tries to break down whatever is in the stomach and doesn’t seem to sense as well when to stop. This is why many vegetarians and vegans who eat cooked meals have tummy problems. The body struggles too much. It’s so obvious that people tend to over-look it.

    The human body evolved to eat live, uncooked foods and it has not changed.

  • Wow, I just read that article. It is ridiculously written. He wouldn’t get far in a scientific research position making the statements he did without backup—very childish speaking voice. But I think people tend to assume the casual reader is a moron. It’s a good thing he didn’t take rhetoric or grammar in my college:-)

  • Much conflicting information out there. Nothing beats fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds They offer the most nutrients for the body. Cooking destroys many nutrients.

  • I read this:

    “When we heat food above the human body temperature of 38 degrees, it changes. This heated food effects our health much differently than natural, unchanged foods.

    Prior to 1930, It was believed that whenever we ate, there was an immune system response as if we were poisoned. An immediate rise in white blood cells, by about 300%. White blood cells are our body’s soldiers, they are produced to fight off threats, like poison, trauma or disease. This reaction to eating was called Digestive Leukocytosis and thought to be normal.

    In 1930, Dr Paul Kouchakoff conducted research to compare the effects of cooked food versus raw food. He discovered that Digestive Leukocytosis occurred only when cooked or processed food was eaten. He found that there is no immune system response when we eat our food in it’s natural, unheated, unprocessed state.

    Because of Digestive Leukocytosis, eating cooked food keeps our immune system in a constant state of emergency. Even what we call allergies are just our over burdened immune system literally freaking out when a new irritant is encountered.

    Another immune system response to cooked food is mucus. When cooked food is eaten, our bodies try to protect us from this invasion by creating mucus. This mucus makes a wall between the food and our bodies. The mucus builds up in our guts, causing Mucoid Plaque. This is a rubbery hose which lines the intestines and severely reduces the amount of nutrition we can take in from our food.”

    From here:

    I especially found this noteworthy:

    “Raw food contains its own digestive enzymes and literally digests itself inside you.”

    Because I have personally found this to be the case. The raw food breaks itself down inside of me using its own enzymes. I can physically feel the difference in ease of digestion between raw and cooked food. Cooked food doesn’t have those enzymes, so it just sits there and my body has to work extra hard to digest it.

    Just some info I’ve seen. That’s a great site.

  • Does it matter? Well, (my opinion)... let’s forget about the enzymes for a bit. To be healthy is more than just food… it’s nutrition, exercise, sunlight, rest, air, water, temperance, and trust). And the way these items are done… brings health. Toxins in the body is not healthy, so nutrition, exercise, and water are three that I’ll mention that help eliminate toxins out of our body. Drinking water flushes our system; exercise helps get rid of toxins; and, the kind of food we eat (nutrition) provides us with the cleansing foods and nutrients for healing. However, the kind of food we eat could sit in our bodies (because it digests too long) creating toxins… or the food could ferment in our bodies… or the food we eat could be digested easily, finding its way out the body at a reasonable ‘time’ with little or even less toxins.

    So, what foods provide this? Well, you can be vegan. And that will certainly help. But, then there’s food combinations to consider, amount of nutrition and calories in food, if it’s all real pure food your body can digest and if its ‘alive’. Food that is alive has more nutrients than cooked food. I’m not sure about calories, though (maybe someone can explain that). So… back to enzymes, the only food that is alive and has more nutrients (assuming nuts/seeds are properly germinated to remove the enzyme inhibitors) is food with enzymes that are not denatured. (However, I’m not sure at what temperature food loses its nutrients, since it may or may not be the same temperature at which enzymes denature). I guess you can look at it that way: The state of the enzymes are a way of knowing if your foods are as nutritious as they could be (not to mention organic), whole foods, and can be eliminated at a reasonable time in the body.

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