The biggest question these days is whether to eat cooked food or raw food. What is healthy? What is beneficial? Everyone today is more health-conscious than was before. So, we want to choose the right means of consuming our food.
Raw Food Diet
Uncooked, unprocessed, and unheated food is what we call raw food. This will include not just fruits and vegetables but also seeds, nuts, sprouted grains, fermented foods, and raw dairy products. It is not easy to follow a completely raw food diet in all meals of the day, however, some people adapt to the lifestyle and live only on raw food.
People believe that cooking causes the loss of nutrients that are present in the food, and it destroys the enzymes in the food, as enzymes are heat sensitive. However, raw food might be the hub of some dangerous bacteria and microorganisms which get eliminated by cooking.
Cooked Food Diet
- Cooked food is easier to chew and hence easier to digest than raw food. Cooking also enhances the taste and aroma of the food making it more enjoyable to eat. Proper cooking of legumes reduces the number of anti- nutrients present in them. Anti-nutrients are the compounds present in plant products that inhibit the human body to absorb the nutrients present in them.
- Cooking Increases the Antioxidant quantity In Vegetables. Scientific studies have proved that Beta –carotene an antioxidant increases in quantity in cooked foods. Our body converts Beta-carotene into Vitamin A. Beta-carotene also reduces heart disease risk. Another antioxidant Lycopene present in plant foods is easily absorbed by our body when we get it from cooked foods in place of raw foods. Lycopene reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men and heart diseases in both genders.
- Cooking Kills Harmful Bacteria and Microorganisms. Some of the fruits and vegetables like spinach, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes are contaminated by bacteria easily. High temperatures (over 60 deg C) kill the bacteria and reduces food-borne disease risk. It is thus advised to consume pasteurized milk only so there are no chances of its containing bacteria.
- Short-duration cooking prevents the loss of nutrients. Some nutrients that get lost in cooking can be prevented by using different cooking techniques. Boiling causes the greatest loss of nutrients. However, steaming, roasting and stir-frying methods help to retain the nutrients present in the vegetables. Also, the duration for which the food is being cooked affects the nutrient content, the longer the food is cooked greater is the loss.
Both cooked and raw food have their pros and cons. It is wise to eat a balanced diet of some raw fruits and some cooked vegetables that are easy to digest, tasty, as well as healthy. There are some foods that are healthier eaten raw like broccoli, onions, garlic, cabbage while some are healthier when eaten cooked like asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, legumes, meat, fish, and poultry.