Proponents of the raw food movement indicate that raw foods provide vital enzymes and nutrients that are are typically destroyed in the process of cooking food. Those in favor of the raw food diet also claim that cooked foods lead to inflammation and various diseases. However, eliminating cooked foods from your diet can eliminate a number of vital and essential food groups -- including a majority of grains, fish, meat and dairy products. It is also important to note that a small majority of those in favor of the raw food diet do consume raw fish, meat and dairy products. Also, the nutrient of some foods is actually increased during the cooking process.
Are Your Foods Losing Nutrients as You Cook Them?
Proponents of consuming raw foods claim that cooking foods above 92 to 118 degree F can dramatically reduce the nutritional content of your meal. Yes, it is true that certain methods of cooking can strip your foods of their nutrients. This is evidenced by cooking vegetables in water. Have you ever noticed the boiling water developing a color hue after you are finished cooking your vegetables? However, there is also evidence that some foods’ nutritional value actually increases as the result of cooking. For instance, tomatoes provide triple the amount of lycopene when cooked than they do when consumed raw. Research also indicates that cooking in olive oil can increase the bioavailability of lycopene in foods. Research indicates that peanuts also become more nutritional as the result of cooking. Some vegetables may lose nutritional value as the result of cooking. However, cooking improves the remaining nutrient’s bioavailability due to a breakdown in their cellular structures. This allows your body to be better able to absorb the nutrients.
Does Cooking Foods Destroy Their Enzymes?
Proponents of the raw food movement indicate that cooking food will destroy valuable enzymes in foods. It is important to note, that these enzymes are frequently destroyed by the acids of your stomach during digestion anyways. If you are worried about enzyme destruction, you can get valuable enzymes without converting to an entirely raw diet. Try adding raw fruits, nuts and vegetables to your diet by means of trail mix, smoothies and salads.
Can Raw Foods Really Prevent Disease?
Many proponents of the raw food diet suggest that cooking foods produce disease-invoking inflammation in the body. Proponents will tell you that a diet that consists of at least 80 percent raw foods will prevent inflammation and can even help you to reverse disease. However, there is no scientific data to support these statements. The only similar study has indicated that a vegan diet may mitigate diseases. However, this study never considered whether foods were raw or cooked.
What Foods Groups will I be Missing if I go Raw?
Limiting your diet to only raw foods will cause you to eliminate many foods from your diet that simply need to be cooked in order to make them edible and prevent food-related illnesses. A raw diet will typically not include eggs, meat, dairy, grains and fish.