- Why you should eat more raw foods?
- 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.
"I personally try to eat about 85 percent of my food raw", said Dr Mercola. 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 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).
- Heating your food above 116 degrees F renders most enzymes inactive.
- Nitrates, Nitrites, HCAs and PAHs
- Advanced Glycation End product (AGEs)
- Oxidized Unsaturated Oils
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. 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. 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.
Although organic produce is a better choice, it still has its own problems:
- As discussed above in the "E Coli and Bean Sprouts" story
- About 1 in 4 organic produce bears some pesticide residue, usually as a result of "pesticide drift".
- 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).
- 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.
- Enzymes are relatively large and their protein structures are fragile.
- The discovery of acrylamide in some cooked starchy foods in 2002 prompted concerns about the carcinogenicity of those 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).