I (and some family members) have a medical condition that affects the ability to digest cellulose, so we have to avoid most fresh fruits and vegetables. We have found that cooking vegetables helps a bit, and something that requires a long cooking time (like a stew or soup) helps more.

Basically I am wondering if there are other ways besides cooking to break down the cellulose of vegetables and fruits and make them easier to digest?

  • I am afraid it doesn't look good. Beside heat, your best options are enzymes and high pH. High pH makes the taste unpleasant, and I don't think you can buy the enzymes needed. But maybe somebody has a good answer I didn't think of. Or maybe there is an easy source for enzymes.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 27, 2011 at 20:41

3 Answers 3


Ummm, this isn't a specific condition...cellulose is indigestible by humans. It is the chief component of what we call "dietary fiber" or my Grandma called "roughage".
This question is really asking how to remove the fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables - puree and straining, juicing etc. would all do the trick.

  • This was what I was thinking and I googled just to double check my memory was not faulty.
    – Megasaur
    Oct 2, 2011 at 9:42

Freezing fresh foods high in water content will rupture cell walls (cellulose strands) similar to cooking. I think the effect on cellulose in cooking is more mechanical in nature (water expanding causing cell wall rupturing) since based on what I could find here the heat involved in cooking isn't enough to actually breakdown the cellulose. Freezing will provide a similar mechanical breakdown.

I'm not sure of the extent of the breakdown, but an easy comparison is to look at a frozen strawberry that has been defrosted next to a fresh one.

  • 2
    Freezing makes plants mushy, but I think (not sure though) that it breaks the bonds between cellulose molecules in cell walls, not the molecules themselves. I'll have to research it more for a definite answer, but just comparing a fresh and a defrosted strawberry doesn't prove that there is no cellulose in the defrosted one.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 28, 2011 at 0:05
  • Yes, that's what I was saying, though you stated it more clearly. Thank you. I didn't say that the defrosted strawberry being mushy was an example of the cellulose being broken down, but rather that it was an example of the freezing process rupturing the cell walls similar to what cooking does due the formation of ice crystals.
    – AaronN
    Sep 28, 2011 at 15:54

I use two different juicers that separate juice from fibers. A triturating juicer works on hard vegetables like carrots, turnips, beets etc.. An auger press crushes leafy vegies, celery, cucumbers etc. but requires multiple passes to maximize extraction. An old book on using mixed juices for medicinal purposes is titled: 'RAW vegetable JUICES- what's missing in your body' by N.W. Walker.

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