Eating ‘raw foods’ has gotten a lot of hype over the past few years and it is not without good reason. Raw fruit and veg are usually less processed (if at all processed) and still full of their natural life energy. But did you know that there are some nutrients are destroyed by heat whilst others are best absorbed from cooked foods?
What are the benefits of eating raw fruit and vegetables?
Eating vegetables in their raw state is a fantastic way of absorbing their nutritional value. They are usually fresher and are in their most natural state. When in their natural state they still contain many of the enzymes that actually aid in the digestive process, whereas cooking can destroy them. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that is actually destroyed by heat. So for this reason vitamin C rich foods are a great choice to eat raw.
What are the benefits of eating some fruit and vegetables cooked?
Cooking vegetables and fruits does have its benefits though. For starters you are removing any microorganisms that might me be present and you are also helping break down some of the fibres which will make the process of digestion and absorption much easier. Mushrooms are a perfect example of a food that is much easier to digest when cooked and in some cases much safer too!
There are some nutrients that need heat to be activated and to be released: Lycopene, an antioxidant found in red tinted fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes and red capsicum, is only released through the heating process.
Also some other vegetables become safer to eat when cooked: The cruciferous family (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale) contain chemicals known as goitrogens, that can inhibit the production of thyroid hormones. This can have a negative effect on people who have specific thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism, however it should make little difference to those who don’t. It is only by cooking these cruciferous vegetables that you can render these chemicals harmless.
Whether you eat your fruit and veg cooked or raw really depends on the nutrients you are after, any health requirements you might have and basic preference. Me personally? I enjoy eating a wide range of both cooked and raw to make sure I am getting all the nutrients I need.