Cooking Food vs Raw Food?

Cooking your food may not be the best option for your health.

In America, over half of our daily calories come from ultra-processed foods according to a recent study, 57.9% to be exact.  Are our bodies really designed to break down ultra-processed foods? The argument for raw vs cooked food has raged on for years with good points from both sides with the raw foodies gaining ground. Let’s explore some of the benefits to turning off the stove and going raw.

When eating raw food, your not eating any processed foods. For many Americans, just buying fruits and vegetables out of the produce isle would be a huge change.  Raw foods are single ingredient foods, no need to read the labels and decipher chemical names.

Obtaining nutrients out of the food requires enzymes to break it down. Raw foods are packed with natural enzymes needed to aid in digestion. When we eat cooked foods the enzymes are eliminated and our body has to pull energy from our cells in order to digest it.

Food has the power to heal us, it is the most potent tool we have to heal and prevent many of our chronic diseases -Mark Hyman

Raw food is alive and cooked food is dead.  Cooking food destroys enzymes and raises the acid level of the foods. An overly acidic body allows unhealthy organisms to grow and can lead to disease. “Besides enzymes, the second most important benefit of raw foods is their effect on the acid/alkaline balance in our bodies”, says Alissa Cohen.

Cooked foods can remain undigested in the colon and can start to putrefy, ferment and become rancid which leads to inflammation in the gut. Leaky gut can result if the inflammation is prolonged leading to autoimmune disease.

Real food doesn’t “have” ingredients, real food IS the ingredient. -Jamie Oliver

The vitamin content is higher and more easily absorbed in uncooked foods.

Raw food diets help to prevent blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes. (1)

Raw foods are low in calories and high in bulk fiber which leaves you feeling fuller and almost always results in weight loss.

One study investigated the effects of eating cooked broccoli  vs raw broccoli. They found broccoli contains a substance known as sulforaphane which has been linked to lower cancer rates and lower blood pressure. The body obtained higher levels of sulforaphane when the broccoli was eaten raw then the cooked broccoli.

A study from SCI found that cooking vegetables can reduce their vitamin C level as much as 55%.

David Wolfe is an active raw foodie and recommends a diet of 85% raw foods daily.  Raw foods can be paired with a piece of freshly cooked salmon, grass-fed beef or organic chicken.

Are there times when cooking foods may be the healthier choice? People with severe digestive issues may benefit from a temporary meal plan where cooking foods is beneficial as it breaks down the fiber that could be harder to digest.  Also sprouting or fermenting foods adds additional enzymes that can ease digestion.

You don’t have to be a raw food activist to benefit from raw foods, simply adding in a few raw foods daily will significantly improve your overall health.  For additional help with eating a raw foods diet check out Raw Food for Everyone by Allisa Cohen.



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