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Cooked or Raw Food - Which is better for Health?

There are many myths also that are being propagated related to health benefits or eating food raw and cooked food too.

Anurag Khare 

Domino's, Jubilant FoodWorks, Pizza
Domino’s, Jubilant FoodWorks, Pizza

Lately there has been lot of emphasis on not only eating healthy but living naturally too. It is being claimed that eating food raw is a healthier option, as it ensures that nutrients and vitamins don’t get destroyed in the cooking process. It’s as if the evolution of food and medicine had gone back to square one. The benefits of eating raw food are everywhere, be it online or elsewhere. There are both merits and demerits of eating food in its cooked or raw form. Many factors such as the way food is cooked or not-cooked has an influence on how healthy the food on your plate is. There are many myths also that are being propagated related to benefits or eating food raw and cooked food too.

Risks of Eating Overcooked Food

Cooking at high temperatures or cooking over its limit can definitely cause toxicity but it’s irrelevant in preserving enzymes. Heat promotes the formation of AGEs, and All 3 substances are linked with human carcinogens. mutate DNA, which in turn can lead to cancer. Studies show that have a correlation with stomach, pancreatic, colorectal and breast cancers. result when amino acids from proteins react with creatine during high temperature cooking. are linked with cardiovascular disease. are also linked with the inability of wound healing; a problem diabetic people are all too familiar with. are formed when there is a reaction between glucose and proteins in the absence of water. It’s true that the quantity of PAHs, and that form have several contributing factors but often high temperature cooking is the primary one. When cooking from 200 degrees to 250 degrees HCA formations increases by three times. Frying, broiling and BBQing are the lead culprits of Low temperature cooking such as boiling or stewing has the least risk of carcinogens. occur only in muscle meats and cannot be traced in milk, eggs and organ meats such as liver. Additionally, meats cooked in microwave ovens have a significant lower amount of are visible in all sorts of brown foods such as brown cookies and brown basted and regular meats.

Benefits of Eating Cooked Food

The formation of HCAs, and during the cooking process is no reason to refrain from cooking. Cooking destroys a slew of bacteria that would otherwise go unnoticed into your system. Eating raw foods has been linked with various diseases. Asians, more specifically Chinese and Japanese people, who consume a lot of raw foods have the highest rate of stomach cancers. Cooking kills germs, it also helps preserve food longer and protects it from infections. Although it’s true that some nutrients are destroyed during the cooking process but it also makes others more readily available. For example, beta-carotene in carrots and lycopene in tomatoes are more easily released and absorbed by the body once they have been cooked. Some manufacturers and restaurants are even profiting from the idea of rightly cooked food. They advertise that cooking in low temperatures reduces carcinogens, a known cancer affiliate, which is true. They also advertise that cooking in low temperatures preserves the enzymes in the food. This is true too but Enzymes are broken down by peptides and amino acids in the digestive track anyway. The human body doesn’t even need external assistance to produce enzymes; it’s capable of synthesizing all the enzymes it requires.

Cooked vs. Raw Food

Firstly eating raw doesn’t always mean eating well. It is true that the way food is cooked has an influence on its toxicity and nutrient absorption. Primarily where raw food scores over cooked food is no nutrient loss, eating raw preserves the nutrients whereas cooking the food causes nutrient loss. Where cooked food scores over raw food is that it ensures destruction of germs and bacteria. Both eating cooked and raw food has its advantages and disadvantages; the best approach is probably to strike a balance between the two.

First Published: Fri, December 08 2017. 11:43 IST