Do foods provide different benefits depending on the way they’re prepared? Some believe cooking activates a food’s natural enzymes (necessary for digestion), while others suspect cooking deactivates enzymes and depletes a food’s vitamin and mineral content. Does cooking affect a food’s nutritional value?
Research shows that most enzymes become damaged at temperatures over 118 F (42 C). Therefore most of the cooked vegetables we consume are “dead” or void of beneficial living properties. Heating food, just as with any other chemical reaction, changes the molecular structure of the food. Enzymes are necessary for digestion; Without them, key players are missing in the break-down and absorption process.
Raw foods are easy on the digestion system. Cooked foods require increased energy and stomach acid secretions, which ultimately wreak havoc on the body’s digestive system. Raw foods, in comparison, require less stomach acid and preserve valuable energy for other necessary bodily processes. Leukocytosis, or the production of white blood cells is also found to be an outcome of cooked food consumption. The body finds the “dead food” to be an invader and reacts accordingly.
To get a bit more scientific, raw foods optimize your health by alkalizing your body. Alkalizing is necessary for natural elimination and detoxification. Cooked foods are acidic and make it difficult for the body to stay in alkaline/acid balance. Your body is designed to be alkaline and even a slight change in pH can cause disorder in the body.
Moral of the story: Eat raw as much as you can. Optimal = 80% of your total daily calories.
If you must cook your food, pay attention to the amount of time and heat. Saute and steam on low or sear on high for a short period of time. Never cook your foods in a microwave. Food is meant to both fill and nourish your body. When you microwave food, especially vegetables, you zap them clean of nutrients. Your food will closely resemble cardboard, tasteless and nutrient void.
The more raw food you eat, the more nutrients you absorb, and the less you’ll need to consume to be satisfied.
Extra bonus: Raw foods are better for the environment. The less you cook, the less energy you use.