Is it better to consume uncooked fruits and veggies?
The goal is to extract the most benefits from the food you eat, whether raw or cooked!
Fruits and veggies provide us with various macro and micronutrients. There are various studies that show fruits and veggies should be eaten raw, and several others show just the opposite. It is often confusing, especially for people who only rely on grains, fruits and veggies for their daily diet. But, let’s have a look at how you can extract the most nutrients out of the food you eat, whether raw or cooked!
The central debate
It is wrong to take a side without knowing why what and how! There are fruits and veggies that are best consumed raw, while there are others that have to be cooked to extract most nutrients.
Cons of complete raw food diet
There are foods that consist of dangerous microorganisms which can only be eliminated through heat. There are microorganisms that can lead to diarrhoea and even severe conditions in some. That is why a completely raw food diet is mostly not recommended by nutritionists.
Cons of cooking
There are enzymes present in food that aids digestion. But enzymes are chemicals that break down when exposed to high temperatures. At any temperature above 117 F, almost all enzymes break down. But it has not been proved as yet that these enzymes in the food help the human body, rather the only functionality it has is in nourishing the growth of the plants. But there are water-soluble vitamins that can be lost in the cooking process. Some of these nutrients can very easily be deactivated or get lost in the cooking process, for example, vitamin C.
Best methods of cooking to retain nutrients
Some of the best methods that aid in retaining maximum nutrients is stir-frying, steaming or roasting. It has been found that boiling food for a long time causes a significant loss of nutrients. Vitamins that are fat-soluble like Vitamin K, E and D remain almost unaffected on all cooking processes. Nutritionists suggest cooking food for a smaller length of time. There are various antioxidants, the capacity of which increases with the due to the cooking process. Lycopene is one such antioxidant that is derived from tomatoes in large amounts, which is best absorbed by the body in cooked form.
How to consume which?
Food that is best consumed in the raw form includes broccoli, onions, garlic and cabbage. There are other items like asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, carrots and legumes which are best consumed after being cooked.