As we have researched the benefits and drawbacks to both cooked and raw foods, we've found that there should be a balance of both in your diet.
As we have researched the benefits and drawbacks to both cooked and raw foods, we've found that there should be a balance of both in your diet.

Breaking the Myths About Cooked vs. Raw Food

There are many differing opinions regarding healthy eating and the types of food that will best support your overall wellness, and one common theme that often comes up in this conversation is whether it is better to eat raw foods or to cook the ingredients before consuming them. As we have researched the benefits and drawbacks to both cooked and raw foods, we've found that there should be a balance of both in your diet. Here's what you need to know:

Benefits of Raw Foods
When you eat fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, your body is receiving many nutrients and enzymes that are used for immune support, cellular repair, and overall wellness. These raw foods have antioxidants that are very important to reduce free radical activity within the body, which in turn reduces the amount of cellular damage that is occurring.

It is important to eat an abundance of raw fruits and vegetables, because they provide your body with enzymes that are beneficial for digestion. Raw foods also contain phytonutrients, essential oils and other health generating elements that are lost when foods are exposed to heat.

Raw foods provide enzymes that are great for digestion.Raw foods provide enzymes that are great for digestion.

Benefits of Cooked Foods
Raw food enthusiasts would claim that you shouldn't be eating cooked food at all, because the raw ingredients contain better nutrition and enzymes. Yes, it is important to get plenty of fresh ingredients in your diet, but you can also benefit from cooked foods as well. In fact, cooking can actually improve the bioavailability of certain phytochemicals that are needed for optimal health, including carotenoids, lutein, and lycopene.

"For proper nourishment, you should include cooked foods in your diet."

Certain starches and proteins within some ingredients are more readily available to the body when the food has been cooked. So, in order to get all of the necessary tools that your body needs, you should include some cooked foods in your diet as well. Since the digestive enzymes have been destroyed during the cooking process, you should consider using digestive enzymes to facilitate the digestive process.

Finding a Balance in Your Diet
Instead of taking an extreme approach to eat all raw foods or all cooked foods, a better option is to find a balance between the two. A good goal is to eat 15% of your food cooked, and the rest should be raw.

When you increase your raw food intake, you might experience cleansing reactions such as fatigue and headaches, and these detoxing symptoms can be diminished by including a little more cooked food throughout the day. The goal should be though to consume one cooked meal each day.

Are you interested in recipes that offer a good balance of both cooked and raw ingredients? "Unravel the Mystery Recipe Book" is filled with healthy recipes that make it easy for you to find the right balance between these different types of foods. Also, read "Unravel the Mystery",by Ann Malkmus, to understand more about the ways that both raw foods and cooked foods can support your overall health.

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3 comments

  1. “Certain starches and proteins within some ingredients are more readily available to the body when the food has been cooked.” Which starches and proteins are you referring to? And what do you mean by “readily available” exactly?

    I have found after 16 years 100% raw, and then returning to experiment with 18 months of adding a cooked meal in at the end of the day, that my health and performance suffers significantly.

    I can now confidently report that raw is superior in all ways, except calorie convenience. Cooking makes getting calories from starch – the primary source of calories in any diet cooked or raw for all mankind since the start of our being – much more convenient of course. But it comes at a large cost of health.

    It is far easier and thus “more sustainable” to consume a portion or cooked food each day to reach one’s energy requirements. But your body never lies. The “pings” and “knocks shall” return.

  2. I’m needing to make some dietary changes, and obviously there is much controversary on the subject. I ask Chris this, not assuming that he is an expert or total answer for this, but because he has lengthy personal experience.

    The foods that I am wondering about would be the starchy vegetables (sweet poratoes, yams, squash, pumpkin, corn) and grains (steel cut oats, whole barley, quinoa) do you have ways of eating these without cooking, or do you find those nutrients from other sources? What about the Licopene in tomatoes? I’ve been cooking those in cast iron to increase bioavailability, due to high familial risk of prostate cancer. What are your thoughts on this?

  3. carolyn b. calhoun

    Great blog. So important that we are aware of the nutrition we are getting in our raw foods. It is amazing how fast the foods change when they are cooked. Learn,learn, learn

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