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Cooking Does Not Destroy Important Nutrients

Don't believe that cooking destroys the nutritional value of your food, or you need to take enzyme pills to replace the missing enzymes in your cooking. A popular author says that heating food above 118 degrees destroys 50 percent of the protein in our food, 50 percent of vitamins, and 80 percent of minerals, and all enzymes. This statement makes no sense. Proteins and minerals are not destroyed by heat. Some vitamins are lost in cooking, but you still get plenty of food if you have a variety of diets. The enzymes in food that are destroyed by heat are of no use to you; you make your own enzyme for digestion of your food.

In the stomach and intestines, foods are separated from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Then enzymes made by your body break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins into their building blocks, and only those building blocks can be absorbed into your bloodstream. Food enzymes have no function in your body because they are treated like other proteins that you eat. The enzymes in foods are broken down into building blocks of proteins called amino acids in your gut, so it doesn't matter if they are broken down or cooked by cooking.

The only common enzyme problem is the lack of intestinal lactation that damages double sugar in milk, which can cause diarrhea and cramps when you eat dairy products. You should not take any enzyme pills unless you have chronic diarrhea or severe weight loss, and the enzymes that can be prescribed for this condition are copies of enzymes made by your body, not enzymes found in foods.

Many people believe that fresh fruits and vegetables often contain more nutrients than cooked, but cooked carrots have higher antioxidant content than fresh carrots. Cooking carrots in the presence of small amounts of oil or butter increases the amount of two antioxidants called beta carotene and phenolic acids. Cooking also increases the amount of lycopene you get from tomatoes. Cooking breaks down open plant cells to enhance the absorption of antioxidants and other beneficial plant chemicals. Adding some oil or butter increases the absorption of fat-soluble chemicals.

Some vitamins are influenced by cooking, but you will still get plenty. The enzymes in heat-damaged foods are not useful to you; your body makes the enzymes you need to digest your food. Most of the nutrients in foods (minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates) are not destroyed by heat, and many foods are usually not contaminated or unsafe if they are not cooked. I recommend eating the widest variety of fruits and vegetables, raw or cooked, and fresh, frozen, canned or dried.


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