Veggies: Why Raw Isn’t Always Best

I don’t want to step on any toes over here but I need to be honest.
Over the past few years, the Raw Foods fad has been closely aligned with the Whole Foods trend, the Local Foods wisdom, and even the Organic Foods movement.

Know what? In reality, they aren’t necessarily connected, or even similar.

Want my opinion?
I love raw milk. Even raw eggs. I LOVE salads. Eat a huge one every day for lunch and put a bunch of things in it; nuts, some veggies, some cheese, beans or eggs. It varies in exact content but for the most part, it’s raw. Having said that, and happily admitting to generally being a veg-a-holic, I have a little problem with making the leap between “many” and “all”.
For a perfect example take the tomato. I adore raw tomatos, freshly sliced, a pinch of salt, perhaps with a leaf of fresh basil ummmmmm. salsa, pico de gallo, oh don’t get me started.
I also love cooked tomatoes: sauces, tagines, ragus. yum.

On the other hand, broccoli? Not so much with the raw there. Same goes for beets, cauliflower and certain other foods. To me some foods raw are just too, well, RAW, you know?
The flavor seems locked inside, somehow. And let’s not even talk about the gas.
Yup, I gotta say that, for me, some things just need a bit of heat, a touch of the grill, a little cooking.

    Finally, a little vindication after so many tut-tutts from all my Raw Foods pals!

The following is from the New York Times

…“There is a misperception that raw foods are always going to be better,” says Steven K. Clinton, a nutrition researcher and professor of internal medicine in the medical oncology division at Ohio State University. “For fruits and vegetables, a lot of times a little bit of cooking and a little bit of processing actually can be helpful.”

The amount and type of nutrients that eventually end up in the vegetables are affected by a number of factors before they reach the plate, including where and how they were grown, processed and stored before being bought. Then, it’s up to you.

No single cooking or preparation method is best. Water-soluble nutrients like vitamins C and B and a group of nutrients called polyphenolics are often lost in processing. For instance, studies show that after six months, frozen cherries have lost as much as 50 percent of anthocyanins, the healthful compounds found in the pigment of red and blue fruits and vegetables. Fresh spinach loses 64 percent of its vitamin C after cooking. Canned peas and carrots lose 85 percent to 95 percent of their vitamin C, according to data compiled by the University of California, Davis.

Fat-soluble compounds like vitamins A, D, E and K and the antioxidant compounds called carotenoids are less likely to leach out in water. Cooking also breaks down the thick cell walls of plants, releasing the contents for the body to use. That is why processed tomato products have higher lycopene content than fresh tomatoes…



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