Robert Morgan "Bobby" is a holistic practitioner, master herbalist, iridologist, colonic therapist, author, and international lecturer.
Does Heat Kill Enzymes?
Today, in the vegan and vegetarian communities, eating substantial amounts of raw and living foods has become the norm. There's a lot of dialogue concerning the highest temperature food can be prepared at and still be considered raw, living food that still has its plant enzymes intact.
All of us who eat raw and living food know the incredible benefits we receive from making sure the food we eat is rich in enzymes. So just what is that correct temperature?
There are five things we need to understand to optimize low-temperature cooking. If we can grasp these five important points, we will have a much better chance of eating food with its enzymes intact.
Air Temperature, Food Temperature, or What?
1. There is a difference between air temperature and food temperature. Generally, moist food is about 20 degrees cooler than the air temperature of the dehydrator. The evaporation process itself cools the food below the temperature at which you have set your dehydrator.
2. The thermostat on your dehydrator regulates the air temperature, not the food temperature. The temperature gauge monitors the air temperature to make sure that the dehydration process temperature stays at the desired setting.
3. When food is wet, that is the time when the enzymes are most susceptible to being destroyed by heat. Once the food is dried, the enzymes can withstand much higher temperatures.
4. Along with the need to preserve food enzymes from destruction, there is also the need to make sure unhealthy bacteria and molds don't establish themselves in the food. So it's necessary to begin the process of dehydration at a higher air temperature. We do this by raising the air temperature while still keeping the food temperature low enough to protect the food. At the same time, we create fast evaporation of the moisture on the surface of the food we are dehydrating.
5. Remember enzymes are only susceptible to damage when the food is wet and the actual food temperature (not the air temperature) is raised to the point of destroying the enzymes.
Because the raw and living food lifestyle is so new, compared to veganism and vegetarianism, the science has not had a chance to mature and is just really beginning to be implemented. Because of this newness, we find that there are as many different opinions as to what temperature destroys food enzymes as there are raw foodists.
What The Mother and Father of Live Fooding Said
- Dr. Ann Wigmore, when she was dehydrating wet foods, always set the temperature above 120ºF for the first hour or two. She wanted to make sure no molds or bacteria had an opportunity to get a foothold on her food. Once the food had a soft outer shell, she then lowered it to 105 degrees. Dr. Ann also said, however, that if you’re the forgetful type, you should set your dehydrator temperature at 105 degrees so that your food will never go over the 120-degree mark.
- Viktoras Kulvinskas agreed with Dr. Wigmore, adding that his testing method revealed that once a portion of food is dried, the temperature of the food could go as high as 150 degrees before the enzymes were destroyed.
Well, you can see where the confusion started and where the inaccurate beliefs about the 105ºF air temperature came from. Who would argue with Dr. Ann or Victor? The problem is, her 105-degree advice was directed to the “forgetful” raw foodist, and Victor basically agreed with Dr. Ann in her advice to non-forgetful foodists.
Today, we know we can dry food at temperatures that far exceed 105 degrees. In fact, I personally have been able to sprout all of a sample of seeds, grains, and nuts that I had soaked for several hours and dehydrated for 4 hours at 120 degrees. Try it yourself, and you will see how powerful life-giving enzymes are. My experiment proves the enzymes were still active. Otherwise, my nuts, seeds, and grains would not have sprouted.
What Some of the Experts Say About Heat and Enzyme Destruction
- Dr. Edward Howell, in his book Enzyme Nutrition, showed that prolonged temperatures over 118ºF will destroy enzymes.
- Dr. John Whitaker, former Dean of Food Science at U.C. Davis, says “every enzyme is different, and some are more stable at higher temperatures than others, but that most enzymes will not become completely inactive until food temperatures exceed 140ºF to 158ºF in a wet state."
- Old School Teachers (at just-for-the-health-of-it )believe: “Enzymes are sensitive to temperatures above 118 degrees Fahrenheit [We teach 107 degrees]. Above 120 degrees, enzymes become sluggish, just as the human body becomes languid and relaxed in a hot bath. At 130 degrees, the life of enzymes is extinct.”
- A fellow named Chandni Hindocha performed a test regarding the temperature at which amylase is destroyed, resulting in a graph that floated around the raw food community.
- Dr. Douglas Graham believes foods cooked above 40 degrees Centigrade or 104 degrees Fahrenheit have lost much of their nutritional value and all their enzymes.
- Dr. Mary Enig says her studies show that “all enzymes are deactivated at a wet-heat temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit, and a dry-heat temperature of about 150 degrees. It is one of those happy designs of nature that foods and liquids at 117 degrees can be touched without pain, but liquids over 118 degrees will burn. Thus, we have a built-in mechanism for determining whether or not the food we are eating still contains its enzyme content."
- Rebuild Your Health: With High Energy Enzyme Nourishment by Ann Wigmore
- Survival Into the 21st Century by Viktoras Kulvinskas
- Food Enzymes for Health & Longevity by Dr.Edward Howell
- Enzyme Nutrition by Dr. Edward Howell
- The Enzyme Factor by Hiromi Shinya MD
- Enzymes: The Missing Link to Health by Susan M. Lark M.D
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Robert Morgan (author) on August 02, 2015:
Hi Nadine, you are doing your body good. Even the little bit of raw food you use on your cooked foods is helping with the digestive processes and supplying extra nutrients. Here's something to think about, increase your cultured and fermented foods during the winter months to make sure you are getting a good assortment live enzymes, as well as pre and probiotics. By the way love your hubs. It's difficult to stop reading them lol. My wife is calling me now, got to go. Blessings, Bobby
Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on August 02, 2015:
I'm always have been aware that our recipes when it comes to cooking veggies has not taken in account what is truly happening to the goodness of our organic veggies. In summer I eat lots of salads, but in winter I like my food to be warm, therefore I often add a small portion of grated cabbage and sprinkle that over my food. Nice hub.
Robert Morgan (author) on August 01, 2015:
Hello most wonderful Elsie, so good of you to stop in and comment. I always appreciate your comments and your writing. I wrote this hub because I love living food and when we eat plenty of it, especially us cancer "surthrivors", we find that we get stronger every day. Sending blessings to you and that hard working husband. Give those cows a big hi from too. Bobby
Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on August 01, 2015:
This is a interesting article that I'm sure many other readers will be interested in.
Sharing it with other Hubbers.
Have a great day.
Robert Morgan (author) on July 14, 2015:
Glad your getting your share of veggies. Its difficult to eat 100% raw, and even when we do, we may be missing some vital nutrients. There usno magic number... Sta healthy, blessings to you and yours.
Robin Grosswirth from New York on July 09, 2015:
I've been bad and have roasted veggies, which I know removes proper enzyme retention. Thanks for the reminder.
Akriti Mattu from Shimla, India on June 25, 2015:
This is really informational and useful :)
Carlene Joseph on February 03, 2015: