A balance of raw and cooked foods will optimize digestibility and nutrient content.
Lunch Hour Lesson #33
Do you have the idea that raw food is healthier? Many people do; it is a pretty easy message to sell, that raw food, with all its beneficial enzymes intact, would be better for us.
Also, overly processed food is dead and doesn’t do any good for our bodies. Sometimes our body doesn’t even recognize it as food, which initiates an inflammatory response.
But, as with almost every subject, good advice is more complicated than simply: eat all food raw and never eat cooked or heated food. Some people do do this, but it has not been shown to be the healthiest diet out there. Rather, a healthy diet should prioritize cooking some foods and eating some foods raw.
Balance is key, and so is bioindividuality. Some people do a better job digesting raw vegetables, for example, than others who find the excess fiber in raw vegetables causes gas, bloating, and intestinal discomfort.
Raw food vs. cooked food is really a balance of keeping food in its most “alive” state as possible, while also ensuring it can be digested well. Since we humans have shorter digestive tracts than those animals who only eat plants, we often will get more nutrition out of our vegetables if we cook them first, which basically pre-digests the tough fibers and liberates other vitamins and minerals. Yes, the enzymes are gone, but that’s not all that is important in food.
Fruits and summer vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes are tender and can be eaten raw to benefit from the enzymes and vitamin C they contain that would be reduced by cooking.
But on the other hand, cooking actually increases tomatoes’ lycopene content significantly! To achieve balance, the goal would be to eat fresh tomatoes when they’re ripe in the summer, and then cook preserved tomatoes in the winter months.
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Make a refreshing raw salad with butter lettuce, avocado cubes, grapefruit sections, and goat cheese. Dress with olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to taste. Then, go look up a recipe for steak tartare 🙂 You don’t have to make it, just look it up!
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