Have you ever thought about what happens when you cook food? My father used to always tell us about how we started losing nutrition as soon as we picked food from the garden and even more once we cooked it. Here is a lot more then he would have known in the 60s.
What Happens When We Cook Food at High Temperatures
1. 30% to 50% of the vitamins and minerals are destroyed. We lose up to 97% of the water-soluble vitamins (Vitamins B & C) and up to 40% of the lipid-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E & K).
2. Protein becomes coagulated, making it less digestible (studies suggest that cooked proteins are up to 50% less likely to be utilized by the body.)
3. Overly cooked foods ferment more easily, causing them to putrefy in the intestinal tract creating candida and body odor as it eliminates.
4. Digestion of cooked food demands much more energy than the digestion of raw food. Most raw food is much more easily digested, passing through the digestive system in at least one-third of the time it takes for cooked food.
5. Cooked food is acid-forming; most raw food is alkaline-forming. To read more on the benefits of an alkaline diet: 10 Benefits of A Properly Alkalized Body
6. It creates enzyme-dead foods: 90-100% of its enzymes have been destroyed. These are needed for every metabolic action in the body. Extreme high heat used in the production of processed foods, while pasteurizing the product, also kills all the live enzymes.
7. Oxalic acid, which occurs in over 50 fruits and vegetables, becomes harmful when cooked. This includes such powerfoods as spinach and dandelion greens. The calcium binds with the oxalic acid in the blood to neutralize it, forming calcium compounds that are difficult for the body to excrete; this may lead to kidney stones.
8. White blood cells increase when food is cooked; the body reacts to cooked food in the same way it reacts to infection.
9. Cooked fiber passes through the digestive system more slowly than raw food. It is then more likely to ferment, causing toxins, gas and heartburn. Cooked foods can take up to 24 or 48 hours or longer to digest—hard work for the body for a few nutrients!
10. The pancreas enlarges as a result of over-stimulation from cooked food; eventually it breaks down, according to studies. Years of abuse to the pancreas cause it to secrete fewer enzymes which may cause digestive problems or diabetes.
11. Unsaturated oils in cooked foods become rancid within a few hours, even in the refrigerator. The saturated fat and trans fat in deep-fried foods increase your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. Deep-fried foods also may contain acrylamide, a possible carcinogen; foods fried at higher temperatures or for longer contain more than those fried for shorter times or at lower temperatures.
12. All processed foods are cooked foods, which come with packaging that is polluting this world.
Next: Does this mean I should never eat cooked food?
Cooked food is not bad; it is all about balance and knowing what your body needs. I am not a 100% raw food eater. I love my cooked millet, brown rice, vegetables and homemade baked beans. Actually this list could go on, but you get the idea.
When I was unwell with a digestive system that did not work well (I could only eat 12 foods), I could not eat any raw food. My naturopath doctor wanted to get some simple nourishment into my declining body; he asked me to drink organic, freshly-made carrot juice. The first glass caused me to go into painful gut spasms an hour later. He advised me to drink less, but each time it was the same, just a lesser degree of pain. Even a sip caused an intense journey into pain an hour later. Those same carrots cooked worked well in my digestive system, so I was not allergic to carrots, as some of you might be thinking. Simply put, I could not consume raw food.
Now with a digestive system that works, my food is 40-90% raw, depending on the season. I love carrot juice and never have an adverse affect from drinking it now.
What I am saying is you have to listen to your own body and give it what it needs—and I do believe from personal experience and research that including some fresh raw food is good for most of us.
Cooking Food at High Temperatures Does Destroy Enzymes!
At 212 degrees, 100% of the enzymes are destroyed. When our diet is enzyme-deficient (too much cooked food), the body has to supply the extra enzymes needed. The pancreas and other organs become overworked, which can exhaust them, causing the loss of the ability to digest foods.
Research found thirty times more enzymes in the saliva of young adults than in that of persons sixty-nine years of age. (Howell, E. Enzyme Nutrition. Avery Publishing Co. 1985)
According to Dr. Howell, “This may be the direct cause of cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic incurable diseases.” It is no wonder that after a lifetime of ingesting an enzyme-deficient diet, the pancreas becomes so exhausted that it does not function properly. This may explain why so many of these diseases are becoming much more prevalent.
Next: Easy tips on how to incorporate raw food and balance cooked food, plus some helpful recipes
What to Do?
- Eat some raw food every day.
- Start the day at breakfast with a piece of raw fruit or a smoothie made with raw fruits and greens. Learn how to make and eat one in a new way here: Diana’s Green Smoothie with a Difference
- Have one salad a day. Here is a simple tasty one: Power Spinach Salad
- For snacks have fresh piece of fruit.
- When cooking, use the lowest heat possible for the job with the least time possible. Steaming is better for nutrients than stir frying; stir frying is much better than deep frying.
More Raw Food Enzyme-Rich Recipes:
Green Nori Salad: This salad is simple, nutritious and filled with flavor.
Cucumber-Mint-Mango Lightness: Light and refreshing summer juice.
Light Herb Lemon Olive Oil Salad Dressing: Simple healthy raw dressing.