Enzyme Nutrition by Edward Howell
Book Review

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Enzyme Nutrition: The Food Enzyme Concept is a short, succinct book written by enzyme researcher Edward Howell to summarize his lifetime findings. It's an overview of how enzymes work, how digestion requires enzymes, and how and why to get more enzymes in food. 

Enzymes are proteins that are the catalysts of the functions of life. Howell in fact calls them the "life element" of the body. They carry out the body's every metabolic activity: they break down food, build up tissues, repair structures, carry out every action of every organ.

Fully half of your protein intake is used to build the many different specialized enzymes in the body. Howell calls the body's capacity to make enzymes its "enzyme potential." He points out that this capacity is limited and exhaustible. The body uses its resources to make enzymes, and with age it becomes less efficient at making enzymes.

This book focuses on two of the many kinds of enzymes:

  • Digestive enzymes produced by the body (notably by the pancreas)
  • Food enzymes that are contained in food

Although every animal makes its enzymes, every known animal also consumes food enzymes. The only exceptions are: Western people on a contemporary diet who eat mostly cooked and processed food, and pets and lab animals who eat kibble and chow.

Only raw food contains enzymes, while cooked or processed food does not. Cooking, pasteurizing, industrial processing, or any other kind of heating destroys enzymes.

The enzyme-less diet will, evidently, sustain life, but not without disease and early death. The strain on digestion simply wears out the body's "enzyme potential."

Howell contrasts the low-enzyme diet with the "disease-proof" diet of wild animals. He reviews a large amount of research about the health of wild and domestic animals. Wild mice, for instance, have a smaller pancreas, a larger brain (twice the size), and are thinner than laboratory mice. Howell reminds us of the larger brain of the Neanderthal man and suggests we draw our own conclusions.

He contrasts the low-enzyme diet with other human diets, more disease-proof than ours. For example, the traditional Eskimo diet is a high-enzyme diet: raw meat and fish, raw fat, aged meat and fish, and the stomach contents of animals.

A salad, Howell says, does not have an appreciable amount of enzymes. Although it is raw, it offers little help for digesting your steak. High-calorie raw foods, however, are high in enzymes. He lists bananas, avocados, grapes, mangos; fresh olives, dates, and figs; raw honey; raw milk and butter; sprouted grains; and sprouted nuts. Read about: More high-enzyme foods

Here's what this book can teach: how enzymes are both produced and eaten for digestion; why this is important and how it affects health; and a much better understanding of what raw food can offer.

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