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Effects of Cooking on Vitamins and Minerals

Posted Apr 03 2009 11:13pm

Strawberries

Photography and Text by Omid Jaffai

Effects of Cooking on Vitamins and Minerals

More and more, people are choosing to begin a raw foods lifestyle, and the way our environment is going, it really is no wonder. There are more preservatives, chemicals, and poisonous additives in almost all of our foods. There’s the scary statistics of how much of our produce, meats, and dairy products are modified with manmade chemicals through biochemistry and genetic engineering-up to about 70% now. Then, of course, there are all the processed foods and refined sugars that have no nutritional value and have only served to produce and contribute to serious conditions such as diabetes and the like. In times like these, we have to safeguard our bodies, our health, and our lives from food that has been modified or tampered with. This is why so many have chosen to go with a raw foods diet and lifestyle.

Aside from all the gruesome reasons above of additives and GMO’s, etc; one of the number one reasons that most people switch from a standard diet to a raw food diet is to both lose weight and gain back the vital nutrients that their vegetables and fruits naturally contain. Few people truly understand what happens to their foods’ nutritional value when they cook it. Below, we take a closer look at what the effects are of cooking on our foods’ vitamins and minerals.

You may already have heard that cooking vegetables above a certain temperature depletes the vegetable of precious nutrients and minerals, but maybe you’re not sure how or what the specifics are, and-most importantly, what this means for those who ingest cooked veggies. Basically, at a temperature of 115-118 degrees-that can be just lightly steaming your vegetables-your vegetables lose the vitamins and nutrients they were built with, and also their enzymes.

Organic vegetables and fruits are one of - if not the only - last remaining foods that can be purchased in their original state, uncooked and unprocessed. This means that their stores of healthy vitamins and minerals are at their optimum, and therefore, the best things you can eat to not only feel good, but also build and maintain a strong immune system. This is why it is imperative to your health, wellbeing, and life that you do not compromise their nutrients by cooking them.

How are fruits and veggies compromised by cooking, and by how much? This is one of the main set of questions people have when they first start learning about raw foodism, cooked vs. raw foods, and their future health. Basically, when you cook vegetables or fruits, you lose anywhere from 30-50% of their initial nutrients and minerals and 100% of enzymes are damaged. What happens is when fruits and vegetables are heated at a temperature of over 118 degrees for 3 minutes or more, the vitamins break down progressively more and more the longer it cooks. More specifically, the vitamins and minerals in your once healthy veggies and fruits break down and are completely chemically altered from their original healthy state.

So, what does this mean for you, your body’s functions, and your overall health? Not only is your body now not receiving the scores of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that the vegetable or fruit once held, but it is in turn getting a completely different animal that cannot be easily digested in your body. These cooked vegetables cannot be digested because one of the side effects of cooking it was that it also lost all its food enzymes. These enzymes, once a part of your digestion, interacts with your digestive enzymes to efficiently and easily digest this vegetable and all future vegetables. Without a properly working digestion, your body is thrown into chaos-and it cannot carry out the filtering process that it is responsible for: elimination of wastes, conversion to energy, and use and storage of vitamins and minerals.

Without proper elimination of wastes, energy conversion, and enough vitamins and minerals, your body is vulnerable to a whole host of short and long term conditions, illnesses, and diseases due to your digestive tract’s inability to process cooked vegetables in your system. So you can see that the reasons for choosing a raw food lifestyle are much more involved than just for the purposes of health, weight loss, etc. Your decision to choose raw foods over cooked foods is crucial to your health and life.

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Recipe by Omid Jaffai

Stricky Date Lovers with Upside Down Sugar Cane Whipped Cream

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