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Wondering if anyone has an opinion about this message that was sent to me?:

Q: I've heard that cooking destroys nutrients. Would it be better to eat only raw foods?

A (un-named MD): Many people believe that fresh fruits and vegetables always contain more nutrients than cooked ones, but cooked carrots have higher levels of antioxidants than fresh carrots.
Cooking carrots in the presence of a small amount of oil or butter increases the amount of two antioxidants called beta carotene and phenolic acid. Cooking also increases the amount of lycopene you get from tomatoes. Cooking breaks the plant cells open to increase the absorption of these antioxidants and other beneficial plant chemicals. Adding a little oil or butter increases absorption of fat soluble chemicals.
Some vitamins are affected by cooking, but you'll still get plenty. The enzymes in food that are destroyed by heat are of no use to you; your body makes the enzymes you need to digest your food. Most of the nutrients in food (minerals, proteins, fats, carbohydrates) are not destroyed by heat, and many common foods are unpalatable or unsafe if they are not cooked. I recommend eating the widest possible variety of fruits and vegetables, raw or cooked, and fresh, frozen, canned or dried.
For more on food enzyems see

Responses (7)

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    Posted by JohnnySensible at 08/12/08 17:12:36

    I think that it is a very silly message.

    The MD needs to urgently talk to his mum & get a name - then we will be able to find him / respond to him / make salads for him.

    How can anyone possibly go all the way through medical college without having a name?

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Quasi Vegetarian at 09/23/08 03:25:42

    Cooked fruits and veggies are better than going without. I eat mostly fruit. I do not cook it. I do eat a wee of veggeis. I eat a wee of corn on the cob when it is in season. However I steam it then put it in the fridge and eat it the next day cold. Without any salt or pepper or butter like substance and the like. Red Potatoes I eat the same way. These two wonderful foods are better for you when they have been cooked and cooled. The cooking and cooling of them changes the way they digest in your system. Instead of being bad carbs ( as they are when eaten hot, and made even worse with a tun of margarine and salt on them ) They change the way your system utilizes the food. It will slow digest and make it so your system only absorbs what you need for energy and the rest that would normally turn into fat is flushed out with the waste products in your system. When they are cooked and then cooled they also become sweet. No need for additives. IF you will steam the red potatoes they will be very moist when eaten cold later on. What a great way to enjoy food. Very little preparation and clean up and it is good for you to boot.
    I don't like most uncooked veges. Some like broccoli and cauliflower are good, but I can only eat so much raw before I grow tired of it. And when most people eat raw veggies they put some kind of dressing on them. So much for eating healthy. I prefer Veggies like Watermelon. WOW. What a great breakfast food. A big old slab of chilled watermelon to start the day is great. And did you know that apples ( another vegetable by the by ) and apple juice is a better picker upper in the morning that a cup of coffee? This is so true. In fact any 100% fruit juice ( some vegetables as well like apple and pear as well a carrot juice ) will do a better job of getting you going in the morning than coffee and tea with there caffeine fix. It is true. And they will not give you the shakes later on or drop you like a bad habit a wee later into the day.
    Find this doctor and tell him raw is best but cooked is a good second.

    Quasi :)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by kindlizard at 09/23/08 12:05:32

    Slightly cooking spinach will knock out any oxallic acid, something that is avoidable for many.

    Watermelon is a fruit of the vine.

    Some folks can't handle the gasses of raw veggies either, so slightly cooking can be best for any given individual.

    I'd tell the doctor though to leave the cow alone, no need for butter...

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Barleycorn at 10/30/09 20:25:34

    If I convert to raw food, will I get more like Demi Moore? I'd feel safer if the 'famous examples' included George Bernard Shaw. Can't be that cranky I suppose if it was the norm for millions of years before they discovered fire, but I think of it as an ideal rather than a desideratum; i.e. that most of us would be healthier if we went a bit futher down the "raw food road". And that our racial stomachs might change for the better after a century or two. Not really for me, but certainly interesting.

  • truffle's avatar
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    Posted by truffle at 11/15/10 16:32:34

    There are just some foods that better enjoyed when cooked. But if one can do well with raw ones, the better

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    Posted by Heidi B. at 11/15/10 18:15:35

    I have found that eating raw at breakfast and lunch works well for me (combination of whole fruit and green smoothies). I find that I enjoy a salad and a cooked main course for dinner (vegan or vegetarian). So far, this is working for my husband and I.

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    Posted by AndyT at 11/16/10 04:44:34

    The doctor can be right - some nutrients might be easier available / higher concentrated in the cooked form, but be very wrong on the overall question (should we boil vegetables). Because the cost is high - numerous nutrients (vitamins etc.) that we know about are destroyed in cooking, and most likely also countless others that we do not know yet (but most likely need). The same applies to virtually all other vitamins you can either take as supplements (not advisable) or consume in the form of fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables (very advisable).

    You have also most likely heard about lycopene - the red colour in tomatoes that is a powerful antioxidant. It is higher concentrated in cooked tomatoes, so the suggestion here is that you should cook tomatoes. Only very suspicious people (like myself) think that this has something to do with the fact that there are some large companies making lots of money with products made from tomatoes (e.g. Heinz etc.) ... eat your tomatoes raw instead!

    Best regards,

    PS: you should, however, cook your beans....