Thursday, September 24, 2015

Raw Foods for Better Health

In this article, we will discuss the following topics:
  1. Why you should eat more raw foods?
  2. Cautions to be taken for preparing your raw foods for eating

Health Benefits of Eating Foods Raw


Raw foods are enzyme-rich, and consuming them decreases your body's burden to produce its own enzymes. The more food that you can eat raw, the better. Ideally, you should get 75 percent of your digestive enzymes from your food.[18]

"I personally try to eat about 85 percent of my food raw", said Dr Mercola[3]. Maybe it is also wise for us to strive to get as much raw food in our diet as possible . One way to achieve that goal is to drink fruit-and-veggie smoothies[8,19].

Health Hazards of Over-Cooked Foods


Cooking tends to destroy the nutritive value of the foods we eat. For example,
  • Vitamin C
    • Cooking can destroy the vitamin C in veggies. 
      • Dr. Liu[1] at Cornell University has found that vitamin C levels declined by 10 percent in tomatoes cooked for two minutes—and 29 percent in tomatoes that were cooked for half an hour at 190.4 degrees F (88 degrees C). 
  • Enzymes
    • Heating your food above 116 degrees F renders most enzymes inactive.[18]
However, another aspect, and one which less people are aware of, is the toxins (including carcinogens) that exist when food is heated past a certain temperature over time. As found in the HEATOX studies[2], such toxic substances include:

Food Contamination


Before start eating raw foods, you need to be warned that:  each year, 48 million people in the U.S. get sick from contaminated food[6]. Common culprits include bacteria, parasites and viruses[11,16,23]. However, harmful bacteria are the most common cause of foodborne illness.

In summer 2011, a deadliest E. coli outbreak has killed 31 people, sickened nearly 3,100 and prompted much of Europe to shun vegetables[5]. After a month of searching and testing, Health officials have finally tracked the bacteria's origin—the bean sprouts grown at an organic farm in Germany.

While sprouts are full of protein and vitamins, their growing conditions and the fact that they are mostly eaten raw make them ideal transmitters of disease. They require 100-degree heat and humidity — precisely the same conditions E. coli needs to thrive. Sprouts have abundant surface area for bacteria to cling to.

Clean Your Produce


Fruits and vegetables can be contaminated by pathogens, pesticides, and other toxins. They may become contaminated when they are growing or when they are processed. But it can also happen in your kitchen if you leave food out for more than 2 hours at room temperature. Handling food safely can help prevent foodborne illnesses. So, if you choose to add raw foods to your diet, you need to clean them thoroughly. Some advice provided in [8,9,17] include:
  • For firm-skinned food, use a gentle scrub brush; if leafy or soft (lettuce, spinach, broccoli, strawberries), soak for minutes and separate leaves or parts. 
  • Make up a produce wash of one part of white vinegar to four parts water and keep it in a spray bottle by the sink to deep-six any microbes. 
  • Peel fruits and vegetables when you can and discard the outer leaves of leafy veggies. 
  • You need two cutting boards: one for meat, one for everything else


Will Washing and Peeling Help?


As reported by EWG, washing can help reduce the level of exposures to pathogens, pesticides or other toxins. But, it does not eliminate them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful materials[10].

Although organic produce is a better choice, it still has its own problems:
  • Pathogens 
  • Pesticides 
    • About 1 in 4 organic produce bears some pesticide residue, usually as a result of "pesticide drift".
Finally, some foods are poisonous if eaten raw and you should avoid them.[12-14]

References

  1. Fact or Fiction: Raw veggies are healthier than cooked ones
    • The reason is that Vitamin C, which is highly unstable, is easily degraded through oxidation, exposure to heat (it can increase the rate at which vitamin C reacts with oxygen in the air) and through cooking in water (it dissolves in water).
  2. The HEATOX project
  3. When You Heat Natural Plant-Based Foods You Can Get Cancer-Causing Acrylamide
  4. Heat-generated food toxicants: identification, characterisation and risk minimisation
  5. E Coli and Bean Sprouts
  6. Foodborne Illness (MedlinePlus)
  7. Will Washing and Peeling Help? (EWG)
  8. "Juiceman's Power of Juicing" by Jay Kordich
  9. "Eating Well for Optimum Health" by Adnrew Weil, M.D.
  10. Eating Organic, Local, and Seasonal Foods (Travel and Health)
  11. Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked To Townsend Farms Frozen Berries From Costco
  12. 7 Everyday Foods That Just Happen To Be Poisonous
  13. Yes, Apple Seeds and Cherry Pits are Poisonous
  14. Blending Fruit Seeds In Your Green Smoothies – Beneficial or Dangerous?
  15. Raw Food for Dummies
  16. Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (Wikipedia)
    • Most HUS cases are preceded by an episode of infectious, sometimes bloody, diarrhea acquired as a foodborne illness or from a contaminated water supply and caused by E. coli O157:H7, although Shigella, Campylobacterand a variety of viruses have also been implicated.
  17. Four Important Cleaning Tasks In Your Morning Routine (Travel To Health)
  18. The Type of Food that Will Slow Nearly EVERY Inflammatory Disease...
    • Enzymes are relatively large and their protein structures are fragile
  19. Smoothie Recipes for Better Health (Travel To Health)
  20. Xu, Y; Cui, B; Ran, R; Liu, Y; Chen, H; Kai, G; Shi, J (Apr 5, 2014). "Risk assessment, formation, and mitigation of dietary acrylamide: Current status and future prospects.". Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association 69C: 1–12.
    • The discovery of acrylamide in some cooked starchy foods in 2002 prompted concerns about the carcinogenicity of those foods. 
  21. 紅肉致癌成分與對策懶人包 (in Chinese)
  22. New Warning About Olive Oil (Dr. Mercola)
  23. Chipotle says norovirus — not E. coli — might have sickened 80 college students
  24. Preserving Nutrients When Cooking Foods
    • Virtually all minerals are unaffected by heat. Cooked or raw, food has the same amount of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, and sodium.
      • Exception: Potassium
    • With the exception of vitamin K and the B vitamin niacin, which are very stable in food, many vitamins are sensitive and are easily destroyed when exposed to heat, air, water, or fats (cooking oils). 

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