What Temperature Destroys Food Enzymes?

by Sarah Pope MGA Affiliate linksHealthy LivingComments: 74

food enzymes
My article and video on soaking raw nuts caused a bit of a stir with readers. Nothing new for this blog, as challenging the status quo is something that happens regularly in these parts! 

In that video, I demonstrate how to properly soak raw nuts in brinewater and then dry them in a warm oven set at 150 F/66 C.

This practice deactivates anti-nutrients and ensures maximum digestibility and nutrient absorption and is in accordance with the wise preparation methods of Traditional Cultures like the Aztecs.

Numerous comments on the post itself, my YouTube Channel, email, and Facebook have insisted that drying nuts at 150 F is far too high and that the food enzymes are destroyed.

So, what’s the truth?  Are nuts dried in a warm oven set at 150 F still raw or not?

The confusion seems to rest with the difference between wet heat and dry heat. When a liquid food like milk is heated, you will find that you burn your finger at a temperature of 118 F.

If the milk is heated only to 117 F, you will not burn yourself and this is nature’s magical way of letting us know that the food still has all of its enzymes intact. Hence, low temp or vat pasteurized milk heated to 145 F is still just as dead as regularly pasteurized milk heated to 160+ F, despite rumors to the contrary. This is true even if it is non-homogenized, aka “cream top” milk.

Food enzymes and probiotics withstand dry heat much better than wet heat. According to food scientist Dr. Mary Enig, she writes in this article:

“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”.

I hope this information clears up the confusion about drying raw nuts in the oven and whether or not the food enzymes are still intact. It is especially important to harness the convenience of drying large batches of raw food in the oven as not everyone has access to or can afford a large dehydrator.

If you are still unconvinced, dry out a batch of soaked nuts in a 150 F/66 C oven and then eat a handful straight out of the oven. You will be delighted to see that the nuts are not hot and that you do not burn your hand or mouth, an indication that the food enzymes are indeed preserved.

By the way, stainless steel dehydrators are much safer to use than plastic ones if you choose to go that route.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.

Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.

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