Raw vs. Cooked Foods: Which is Better?

raw platterA most interesting and challenging article called Raw versus Cooked Foods: Which is Better? came across my desktop. When Dr. Bruce Ames from UCLA was quoted, I took special notice as I have had much respect for his work.

I think every one knows eating raw fruits and vegetables is healthy and nutritious; but few may know why. (I always feel very much energized after eating a small plate of veggies with dip– as well as a banana, apple or orange.) Some even find properly prepared raw meat (such as beef liver, oysters or sushi) to be beneficial.

Personally, I would never become a raw foodie, as some swear by and avoid anything cooked–some religiously (“don’t touch that– cooked green beans have been on that plate”).  I would rather increase consumption of raw, and continue eating al dente many of the veggies.

The info contained in this wonderful article is based on a lot of testing and research. Although much of it I am sure is true, I think the article omits the facts that when something is properly cooked it makes digestion easier and increase absorption of other nutrients, I still would rather have my grass-fed Porter Houses charbroiled on the grill at medium rare with lots of cancer-causing char on the outside– and take the risk it might take 10 days off my life.

The article mentions that about 120 degrees F is the cooking max, go figure. An African reader commented here (somewhere) that you can cook potatoes in a cast iron, covered skillet in the hot sun– although that could reach 180 degrees.

Here is an excerpt:

Excessive Heat Denatures Nutrients

Burn your finger and skin tissue dies. Overly apply heat to food and nutrients are progressively destroyed. Fresh food prior to wilting or rotting sustains life to a high degree of wellness. Harvested food from field and orchard provides raw materials to replenish your cells and tissues. Overly cooking food destroys live plant and animal tissue whose nutrients no longer bear any relationship to your living body. A diet containing an abundance of raw, unfired food maximizes well being.

The chemical changes that take place to individual nutrients, as excessive heat is applied will now be examined. It is well understood and recognized in scientific literature that heat breaks down vitamins, amino acids and produces undesirable cross-linkages in proteins, particularly in meat. When food is cooked above 117 degrees F for three minutes or longer, the following deleterious changes begin, and progressively cause increased nutritional damage as higher temperatures are applied over prolonged periods of time:  proteins coagulate,  high temperatures denature protein molecular structure, leading to deficiency of some essential amino acids,  carbohydrates caramelize,  overly heated fats generate numerous carcinogens including acrolein, nitrosamines, hydrocarbons, and benzopyrene (one of the most potent cancer-causing agents known),  natural fibers break down, cellulose is completely changed from its natural condition: it loses its ability to sweep the alimentary canal clean,  30% to 50% of vitamins and minerals are destroyed,  100% of enzymes are damaged,  the body’s enzyme potential is depleted which drains energy needed to maintain and repair tissue and organ systems, thereby shortening our life span,  pesticides are restructured into even more toxic compounds,  valuable oxygen is lost,  free radicals are produced,  cooked food pathogens enervate the immune system,  heat degenerates nucleic acids and chlorophyll,  cooking causes inorganic mineral elements to enter the blood and circulate through the system, which settle in the arteries and veins, causing arteries to lose their pliability,  the body prematurely ages as this inorganic matter is deposited in various joints or accumulates within internal organs, including the heart valves.

As temperature rises, each of these damaging events reduces the availability of individual nutrients. Modern food processing not only strips away natural anti-cancer agents, but searing heat forms potent cancer-producing chemicals in the process. Alien food substances are created that the body cannot metabolize.

The Journal would like to hear your thoughts on the matter and any health-related testimonies you have. Read the full article at:

Raw versus Cooked Foods: Which is Better?

compliments of Raw and Living Foods.

6 responses to “Raw vs. Cooked Foods: Which is Better?

  1. Raw or cooked? Depends on which vegetable it is. Some vegetables need to be cooked to neutralize anti-nutrients. Nourishing Traditions is the best guide for this, in my opinion. Lacto-fermented vegetables are raw but also have enzymes. You need enzymes and grass fed animal fats or coconut oil for proper assimilation of veggies. However you choose to eat your veggies, make sure they are organically or biodynamically grown and preferably local.

  2. This is all generally true, although there are some veggies that are more digestible if they are cooked, such as the cabbage family and beans. I’ve discovered that very rare steaks and burgers, nicely browned, but not blackened, are really tasty with Herbemare and pepper. And the Nourishing Traditions recipe for raw salmon salad is wonderful. Dr. Price found that a balance between cooked and raw along with some fermented was characteristic of the healthiest people. For a amazing story of the benefits of raw animals products read Aajonus Vonderplanitz’ book “We Want To Live”

    • Thanks Kris for your comment. My wife says cooked is better for some things and I can see why. It is like lactofermentation– kinda predigested. I will try Hergemare

  3. Many mushrooms including Button mushrooms contain toxins. Some of these toxins can be reduced by certain cooking methods. I have an article from the Ohio Mushroom Society I could send by snail mail if anyone is interested. I cant send the web site because it’s members only.

  4. I don’t think the healthiest solution lies in choosing either raw or cooked foods but in the flexibility of being able to choose both raw and cooked foods options….. as others have already said, there are too many variables and exceptions in foods (and in people). Here is another article that I found that feels more nourishing to me about the cooked vs. raw conundrum:


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