Raw vs. Cooked

In this article, I will elucidate several reasons why raw living foods (fresh, unheated foods) confer greater benefits compared to their cooked counterparts and why routinely subjecting sustenance to high temperatures can be deleterious to health.

Raw foods provide superior nutrition

Cooking completely annihilates certain compounds (e.g., vitamin C), drastically denatures or damages nutrients like thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), folate (vitamin B9), carotenoids (precursors to vitamin A), vitamin E, vitamin K, polyphenols, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and various phytochemicals, and disrupts the equilibrium of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, phosphate) in the food. Conversely, in foods unaltered by heat, these crucial components remain intact, enabling them to properly exert their health-giving properties. This should be of particular importance to those afflicted by autoimmune issues (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc.), degenerative neurological disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, etc.), or cancer, as many of these components are critical for protecting cells, including nerve cells, from oxidative stress and inflammation.

Another important point is that the nutrients in raw foods work energetically. They exist within complex structures of other compounds, which enhance their assimilation and utilization. For example, as you may already know, vitamin C in fresh fruits improves the absorption of iron. (This, by the way, is why ingesting large doses of isolated minerals or vitamins—especially for a prolonged period—is usually a bad idea.)

Raw food abounds in biophotons

Living foods contain minuscule particles of light that fuel the cells, known as “biophotons.” Some cultures refer to these as “prana,” “chi,” or “ka.” In the West, they are often called “Life Force Energy.” Biophotons enhance cellular health and facilitate cellular communication, which are the primary reasons why consuming raw living foods leads to greater vitality and a heightened sense of “aliveness.” In contrast, eating cooked meals (especially large amounts thereof) often leaves people energetically depleted and lethargic.

Raw foods are rich in enzymes

Cooking obliterates enzymes. This process begins when food is subjected to temperatures of 118°F (48°C). Above this threshold, the degradation of enzymatic activity exponentially accelerates.

Enzymes play an essential role in health. The enzymes in raw living foods aid in digestion, thereby reducing the workload on your own endogenous digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas and other organs/glands. Additionally, they enhance nutrient absorption and utilization. Moreover, enzymes support biochemical reactions that are necessary for energy production, detoxification, and cellular repair.

I often hear that this is a moot point since enzymes get destroyed in the stomach. This is not entirely factual. While stomach acid can and does indeed inactivate some of the enzymes carried in food, many of them survive and function in the acidic environment of the stomach (especially in the upper part, which has a higher pH than the lower part), and some pass untouched to the intestines. Moreover, many enzymes begin their activity before they even reach the stomach (starting in the mouth).

Raw living foods are water-dense

Fresh fruits and vegetables have a high water content (this is also true to an extent for nuts that have freshly fallen from the tree and are soft and moist, unlike store-bought nuts). Proper hydration is vital for all bodily functions (the human body is roughly 60% water) and raw living foods—especially fruit—ensure that the cells are adequately hydrated. Cooked food, on the other hand, not only fails to hydrate the body but actually draws moisture from it. If you ever placed a bunch of greens (spinach, collard greens, or kale) in a pan and cooked them for just a few minutes, you notice a drastic decrease in volume. When you then consume these greens, your body needs to “rehydrate” them as they travel through your alimentary tract. And some foods, like fried food, are so heat-processed that they can barely be swallowed without drinking water, which dilutes the body’s enzymes and increases the digestive burden.

One does not have to solely consume raw foods and entirely eschew cooked foods to derive the benefits of the former and decrease the negative effects of the latter. However, bear in mind that this only applies to relatively healthy individuals, who can thrive on a diet comprising 75% raw foods and 25% heat-processed (cooked) foods. For those experiencing entrenched chronic conditions, especially if the malady is likely to result in severe outcomes, a 100% raw living food diet becomes non-negotiable.