Are there benefits of eating raw foods? For many of us, the majority of the food we eat is cooked. And it’s cooked well. You may not know this, but there are downsides to eating only cooked food. Heating food above 118° F (wet) or 150° F (dry) destroys (or denatures) most enzymes and lessens the amount of some nutrients, including some B vitamins and vitamin C. And some of these nutrients, such as vitamin C and the mineral potassium, are lessened by cooking with water.
Raw fruits and vegetables retain more nutrients than cooked. *It is important to note, there are some nutrients such as vitamin A and lycopene (found in tomatoes) that are more easily absorbed after light cooking. If you are planning on cooking some of your food, it is most beneficial to heat in as short a time as possible and with as little water or fat as possible. But uncooked food will ultimately provide more of the nutrients your food should be providing you.
Are there other health effects?
It has been observed that many Americans in advanced age have an enlarged pancreas by around 40% in size. That means those being checked had a pancreas that was 40% larger than normal. That’s huge! Could this be attributed to eating all of our foods cooked? Maybe a small portion, since the pancreas secretes enzymes to help break down foods. Unfortunately, the typical American also consumes about 19 teaspoons of sugar per day (per 2008 data), which places a huge strain on the pancreas to secrete insulin.
With advanced blood testing, health care practitioners such as myself are seeing more and more people who are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. Since raw foods retain more nutrients than those that were cooked, eating them can be beneficial in assuring that you are getting more of the nutrients you should.
How to start eating raw
The best compromise, if you can’t take the plunge into all raw eating, is to eat a portion of every meal raw. You can do this by eating a piece of raw, organic fruit or adding a salad to your meals. The options are endless and many recipes can be found on the internet. It has also been suggested that eating all cooked foods creates an immune system inflammatory response and that eating around 50% of your meals raw reduces the amount of strain placed on your immune system.
I have friends who consume all raw foods and feel great doing it. However, according to Chinese medicine not all people should consume all raw foods. It depends on your constitution and the balance of bodily energies. Eating an all raw diet for some people could bring the system into imbalance, as raw foods are considered to have ‘cold’ properties. In life, it is usually best to adopt a balanced approach, unless you’ve been analyzed and recommended to eat only one way. I, personally, have digestive problems and consuming all raw food is harder on my system. I eat a combination of cooked and raw foods for my own constitution. Remember, we are all different.
The new BOX in town
A great option, that I have found for discovering the benefits of raw foods, is in the form of snacks. But how do you know what snacks are good in the raw department? A fun way to start exploring the world of raw comes in the form of a subscription box. A fun surprise in the mail every month with a variety of raw snack foods. Check out GetRawBox.com for a look at what they offer. Who doesn’t love a ‘present’ to yourself and especially one filled with surprises. Plus it’s an easy introduction into healthier and raw eating.