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Is raw food better than cooked food?

The nutrients of some foods are best preserved in raw form, whereas for others, it's best to consume them only after they are cooked.

Meat, fish and eggs contain dangerous bacteria and microorganisms that can only be eliminated by the cooking process. Eating a raw diet that includes these foods comes with a risk of developing food-borne illnesses like E. coli and salmonella poisoning that can make you quite sick. Similarly, commercially produced milk is pasteurized, which means it has been exposed to heat to kill any harmful bacteria it may contain.

Likewise, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and raw sprouts are some of the vegetables most frequently contaminated by bacteria. Most bacteria cannot survive at temperatures over 140°F (60°C). Hence, the cooking process effectively kills such bacteria and reduces the risk of illness.

But it isn’t all good news! Unfortunately, some water-soluble vitamins like vitamins C and B are particularly susceptible to being lost during cooking. While boiling results in the greatest loss of nutrients, other cooking methods more effectively preserve the nutrient content of the food. Steaming, roasting and stir-frying are good ways to cook food and retain its nutrient value.

Properly cooking grains and legumes improves their digestibility and reduces the amount of compounds that inhibit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in plant foods (aka anti-nutrients).

Eat a variety of nutritious raw and cooked foods, to attain maximum health benefits.

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