Myths Debunked: Raw Food is Healthier than Cooked Food
The boom of the internet has allowed us all to learn about virtually anything and everything with just a click. A quick plant-based dinner recipe? Easy. Reviews on your local gym? You bet. And information on a “healthy” diet, well that’s there, too, but that’s not to say it’s accurate and reliable. See, the internet is both a blessing and a curse – we have access to all the information we could possibly want, but who’s to say what’s worth noting!?
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Wellness myths in particular are seen all across the internet. From mommy blogs to health and wellness forums, the opinions are most certainly there but it can be difficult to decipher what to trust and what to ignore. This is why we decided to tap our friend (and credible source), Dr. Terry Shirvani, to shed light on popular myths to be wary of, explaining the why behind it all. We trust Dr. Terry with most things holistic wellness, as he’s been specializing in natural and preventative wellness, and Naturopathic modalities for over 20 years. He also works with our co-founder Rita as a product developer and scientific and technical advisor, assisting us in sourcing and using highly beneficial ingredients which Rita then makes sure ends up in a shot that also tastes great.
The first myth Dr. Terry tackled is: “Raw food is healthier than cooked food”. Keep reading to learn his take on the common myth and all you need to know on the subject.
Myth: A raw food diet is healthier than a cooked food diet.
Like most things in life, both raw food and cooked food have advantages and disadvantages. The key advantage of raw food overcooked food is the endogenous enzyme content (endogenous means the enzymes contained within the food). When food is cooked or processed at temperatures over approximately 60 degrees C, the enzymes in food are denatured, i.e. their structure is altered and they no longer function as they should. (The food industry is well aware of this and processes food to denature enzymes, intentionally, to extend shelf life.)
This is a controversial topic, but a case can be made that killing enzyme content in food can have a huge impact on overall health, on the development of chronic diseases, and how fast we age. Dr. Edward Howell, the author of the classic book Enzyme Nutrition, spent a lifetime researching and reporting on this topic.
One advantage of cooked food over raw food is access to nutrients. For example, when vegetables are cooked, fibers that are indigestible for humans (e.g. cellulose) are broken down and nutrient content may be more available. Also, from a bioenergetic perspective, cooked food is warming to the body while raw food is cooling, generally speaking. This, too, can have a profound impact on overall health and the development of chronic diseases. The bioenergetic concept of warming vs. cooling is completely missing from Western nutrition, but is intrinsic to both Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine–intelligent and well-organized systems of medicine that have existed for thousands of years.
The bottom line is that neither raw foods nor cooked foods are inherently better than the other. Making the choice between cooked and raw food can be a real balancing act in terms of health. If you feel better and are healthier eating more cooked foods, it’s wise to include supplemental digestive enzymes to replace the enzymes denatured during cooking. If you feel better eating more raw foods than cooked foods, it’s smart to include warming spices, such as ginger, in your diet to prevent excessive cooling in your body and the ailments that can arise from that.
The most important lesson: heat processing denatures enzymes that are important for digestion. After undergoing High-Pressure Processing instead, our shots feature raw juices with all their digestion-boosting enzymes intact, plus probiotics! To shop So Good So You shots, visit our store finder here.
Interested in reading more from the Myths Debunked series by Dr. Terry Shirvani? Check out this blog post on probiotic strains or this one on natural versus man-made nutrients.
So Good So You and its blog materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on the So Good So You blog is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.