Raw Food vs Cooked Food has been a never ending debate. Some say raw food is more nutritious, some say cooked food is free from bacteria and the list goes on. But here we are, with a solution to your food dilemma. This article explains in detail about the benefits of both raw and coked food and also about the food that could be eaten raw and the food which needs to be cooked.

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Raw-Food Diet:

Raw foods are foods that have not been cooked before consumption.While there are various raw-food diet patterns, all of them involve eating mostly unheated, uncooked and unprocessed foods. In general, a raw-food diet is made up of at least 70% raw foods.

Raw-Food diets are mostly vegetarian and it includes fermented foods, sprouted grains, nuts and seeds, in addition to raw fruits and vegetables. However, a small number also consume raw dairy products, fish and even raw meat.

Backers claim that raw food is more about nutrition as the enzymes, along with some nutrients are destroyed during the coking process. Some also believe that cooked food is actually toxic.

Though raw-food is nutritious, it is a hard diet to follow. This is because some foods contain dangerous bacteria and microorganisms that are only eliminated by cooking.

Going on a completely raw diet that includes fish and meat comes with a risk of developing a food-borne illness.

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Water-soluble Vitamins are lost while cooking:

Some nutrients easily leach out of food during the cooking process. Vitamin C and B are particularly more vulnerable during cooking. In fact, boiling vegetables may reduce the content of water-soluble vitamins by as much as 50–60%.

Boiling results in the greatest loss of nutrients, while steaming, roasting and stir-frying are some of the best methods of cooking vegetables when it comes to retaining nutrients.

The longer a food is cooked, the greater the loss of nutrients.

Anti-Oxidant capacity of some foods increase due to cooking:

 

Studies have shown that cooking vegetables increases the availability of antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene. Our body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A.

Beta-carotene is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease due to it’s anti-oxidant properties.

Lycopene has been associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer in men and lower risk of heart disease.

One study found that cooking tomatoes reduced their vitamin C content by 29%, while their lycopene content more than doubled within 30 minutes of cooking. Also, the total antioxidant capacity of the tomatoes increased by over 60%.

Another study found that cooking increases the antioxidant capacity and content of plant compounds found in carrots, broccoli and zucchini.

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Cooking Kills off Harmful Bacteria and Micro organisms

Spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and raw sprouts are some of the fruits and vegetables most frequently contaminated by bacteria. Raw meat, fish, eggs and dairy often contain bacteria that can make you sick.

So in order to kill the harmful bacteria and micro organisms cooking is the best practice as most of the bacteria cannot survive at a temperature greater than 60°C.

Commercially produced milk is pasteurized, which means it has been exposed to heat to kill any harmful bacteria it may contain.

It is not recommended to consume raw or under cooked meat, eggs or dairy, and even after knowing the consequences if you wish to eat it raw then eat it as fresh as possible because it has comparatively less bacteria in it.

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Lastly it depends on the food:

A completely raw or a completely cooked diet will have adverse health effects. So it is recommended that a mixture of the two must be maintained in order to get the best out of the food you eat.

Some raw and cooked fruits and vegetables have various health benefits, including a lower risk of chronic disease.

Here are a few examples of foods that are either healthier raw or healthier cooked:

Foods healthier when eaten raw:
  • Broccoli: Raw broccoli contains a cancer-fighting plant compound sulforaphane.
  • Cabbage: Cooking cabbage destroys the enzyme myrosinase, which plays a role in cancer prevention. If you choose to cook cabbage, do so for short periods.
  • Onions: Raw onion is an anti-platelet agent, which contributes to heart disease prevention.
  • Garlic: Sulfur compounds found in raw garlic have anti-cancer properties.
Foods healthier when cooked:
  • Mushrooms: Cooking mushrooms helps degrade agaritine which is a carcinogenic mycotoxin found in mushrooms. Cooking also helps release ergothioneine, a powerful mushroom antioxidant.
  • Spinach: Nutrients like iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc are more available for absorption when spinach is cooked.
  • Tomatoes: Cooking greatly increases the antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes.
  • Carrots: Cooked carrots contain more beta-carotene than raw carrots.
  • Potatoes: The starch in potatoes is nearly indigestible until a potato is cooked.
  • Legumes: Raw or undercooked legumes contain dangerous toxins called lectins. Lectins are eliminated with proper soaking and cooking.
  • Meat, fish and poultry: Raw meat, fish and poultry may contain bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses. Cooking these foods kills harmful bacteria.

Conclusion:

it is not at all necessary to follow a completely raw diet for good health. To get the best health benefits, a combination of raw and cooked food is to be inculcated.

Source: Is Raw Food Healthier Than Cooked Food?

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