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Vitamins A, D, E, K and minerals
Those nutrients are not easily affected by heat. Study shows no loss of those vitamins in cooked food, or for the minerals, fat, protein, fiber and carbs content.
Winner: Both raw and cooked
Digestive enzymes and enzymes found in foods are two different things. And while we don’t get digestive enzymes through food, enzymes found in raw food have other effects on the body. Many of the enzymes found in raw fruits and vegetables can influence the production of hormones or have cancer-protective effects on the body. Enzymes are very sensitive to heat and are destroyed in cooked food. On the other hand, cooking food can destroy some of the plant’s natural protective compounds that can influence nutrients absorption. As example, oxalates reduce the body’s ability to extract calcium. Cooking destroys this substance, allowing your body to properly absorb calcium and other minerals.
Winner: Mostly raw food, with some exceptions.
The bottom line
It’s always a trade-off when it comes to choosing to cook or not to cook. We lose some vitamins and enzymes, but cooking makes food easier to digest. It also increases the bioavailability of some antioxidants. The best is to eat a variety of foods prepared in different ways. Combining raw and cooked foods seems to be the best way to get the most of your food.
What makes the difference is rather the quantity of fruits and vegetables you eat rather than if you cook them or eat them raw. The huge advantage of raw food diets is in fact in the quantity of healthy food sources that this diet includes, and the avoidance of unhealthy ones. By choosing to eat only raw foods, people naturally avoid all packaged, processed and fast foods, while including a generous amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. This alone should be responsible for the health benefits of the diet and not that they eat food raw instead of a mix of cooked and raw.
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