Raw vs Cooked Food
But as with many other polarizing debates, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. Some foods deliver more nutrients when raw, others after being cooked.
Cooking can destroy or reduce the concentrations of some of the beneficial phytochemicals. Water-soluble vitamins like C and B-vitamins, in particular, can leach out during the cooking process. One study showed that the amount of vitamin C declined by an average of 55% in cooked vs. raw vegetables. The vitamin C content of broccoli plummeted to one-fifth of its original level after cooking.
So score one for team raw.
But not to be outdone, cooked veggies give your body more of the antioxidants lutein (which is good for your eyes) and lycopene (which helps protect your heart and your bones). Heating releases bound calcium, making more of the mineral available for your body to absorb. And the difference can be significant. Cooked spinach has 245 mg/cup of bioavailable calcium, while raw spinach only has 30 mg/cup!
So who wins? Everybody!
There are great advantages to both raw and cooked. And the optimal ratio varies from person to person. A lot of people in the modern world, however, eat most of their foods cooked. Adding more raw foods to your diet can add more balance and variety, and help you to get more of those nutrients that are best delivered in their raw state.
Adding more raw foods to your diet can add more balance and variety, and help you to get more of those nutrients that are best delivered in their raw state.
Raw Foods May Support Healthy Weight Loss
Raw foods tend to be high in two nutrients that are significantly associated with healthy weight loss: fiber and water. High-fiber diets have been shown to aid in weight loss, especially in obese or overweight individuals. Both fiber and water “bulk up” the foods they contain, meaning they increase the volume and weight without adding calories. Since one of the main mechanisms of satiety is the stomach’s stretch receptors, you’ll feel full from fewer calories if they contain both fiber and water.
Additionally, raw foods typically require more chewing. You won’t lose weight because of all the mouth calories you’re burning, but rather because all that chewing can slow down consumption and reduce your total food intake.
Raw Foods May be Good for Your Mood Too
And raw veggies may be as good for your mood as they are for your waistline. A 2018 study found that the higher the fresh fruit and vegetable intake (charmingly abbreviated FVI), the better the person’s mental health — and the more positive their mood. The same correlation wasn’t found for canned, cooked, and otherwise processed fruits and veggies. According to the researchers, the raw foods most highly related to better mental health were “…carrots, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens like spinach, grapefruit, lettuce, citrus fruits, fresh berries, cucumber, and kiwifruit.”
And aside from the health benefits of eating more raw fruits and veggies, sometimes you might not feel like cooking, but still want to whip up a healthy and edible meal. A pint of raw blueberries will be a lot healthier, and leave you a lot happier than a couple of blueberry Pop-Tarts — and take even less time to prepare.
(Excerpt taken from The Food Revolution Network)