A raw food diet includes uncooked fruits, vegetables and grains, unroasted nuts and seeds, dried foods, seaweed and beans. The idea is to prevent the loss of nutrients that is caused by heating. However, some schools of thought, like the Chinese diet and Ayurveda, regard cooked food as being healthier. To cook, or not to cook? Let’s find out, by weighing out the pros and cons of a raw food diet:
- Cooking certain food releases carcinogens and radicals that are harmful for health. In that context, raw food is healthier.
- Raw food is unprocessed and unrefined, which cuts out the possibility of transfats and refined sugars. This in turn, helps in maintaining healthy weight.
- Natural, uncooked food is rich in fiber, which slows down the process of digestion, helping the body absorb all the nutrients slowly and gradually.
- Heavy cooking destroys nutrients and the natural enzymes that are necessary to digest food. A raw food diet keeps these nutrients intact.
- A raw food diet is usually low in essential nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, iron and omega 3 fatty acids.
- Certain vegetables actually become more nutritious when cooked. Carotenoids in carrots and spinach, and lycopene in tomatoes, for instance, are released only after heating them.
- Raw food is more difficult to digest; it can irritate the digestive track.
- Eating raw meat, or certain uncooked greens, could sometimes cause food-poisoning. Cooking food kills harmful bacteria.