Cooking food can improve its taste, but it also changes the nutritional content.
Interestingly, some vitamins are lost when food is cooked, while others become more available for your body to use.
Some claim that eating primarily raw foods is the path to better health. However, certain cooked foods have clear nutritional benefits.
This article discusses the benefits of both raw and cooked foods.
What Is a Raw-Food Diet?
Raw foods are foods that have not been cooked or processed.
While there are varying levels of raw-food diets, all of them involve eating mostly unheated, uncooked and unprocessed foods. In general, a raw-food diet is made up of at least 70% raw foods.
The diet often includes fermented foods, sprouted grains, nuts and seeds, in addition to raw fruits and vegetables.
Many raw foodists consume a vegetarian or vegan diet, eliminating animal products and eating mostly raw plant foods. However, a small number also consume raw dairy products, fish and even raw meat.
Advocates claim that raw foods are more nutritious than cooked foods because enzymes, along with some nutrients, are destroyed in the cooking process. Some believe that cooked food is actually toxic.
While there are some clear benefits to eating raw fruits and vegetables, there are also some potential problems with a raw-food diet.
A strict raw-food diet is very difficult to follow, and the number of people that stick to a completely raw diet in the long term is very small.
Furthermore, some foods contain dangerous bacteria and microorganisms that are only eliminated by cooking. Eating a completely raw diet that includes fish and meat comes with a risk of developing a food-borne illness.