Raw food - It really is that healthy

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raw food quality

Five servings of fruit and vegetables a day - that's nothing new for a long time. But the question still arises as to whether we should eat beetroot, celery & co. as raw food to ensure the highest possible supply of vitamins and nutrients, or whether it is advisable to cook the food. So we ask ourselves how healthy raw food really is. Opinions differ on the subject of raw food. So how healthy is raw food really? We clarify and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of raw food.

What is meant by raw food and raw food quality?

Raw food is understood in the broadest sense to be any unheated food, both of plant and animal origin. Most of the time, however, the term raw food refers to a vegetarian to vegan diet. Raw food is food that has not been heated before consumption, i.e. not baked, roasted, boiled or pasteurized.

All of this may sound like a very limited diet. But in reality, raw food is already part of many healthy meals in our everyday lives. This includes, for example, side salad, nuts, fruit salad, dried fruit and juice in raw food quality.

Man – the only creature that heats food

Consider that humans are the only creature that heats food before eating it. So let's do a little thought experiment and imagine that our ancestor, homo habilis, had not been able to tame fire and process food. So we would either still be dependent on raw food, or humans as we know them today would not walk on this planet at all. Luckily, of course, that's not the case. Nonetheless, below we take a look at the benefits of eating a meal without heating it.

The benefits of raw food

Every time food is heated, be it boiling, baking, roasting or steaming, nutrients are lost: vitamins, trace elements, minerals and phytochemicals. Conversely, this means that exactly these nutrients are still fully preserved when no heat is supplied, i.e. when we consume raw food quality. The phytochemicals in particular are extremely important for our health, as they contain antioxidants that protect against free radicals in the body. These so-called free radicals are highly reactive, aggressive molecules that are formed by the body itself during various metabolic processes, but can also be caused by external influences such as cigarette smoke, UV radiation and environmental toxins. What helps is plenty of fruit and vegetables for cell protection - ideally with the highest possible proportion of secondary plant substances. In addition, raw food can work against constipation by reactivating the body's self-regulation. Raw food is not only considered to be particularly healthy and nutritious due to undestroyed vitamins and trace elements, but raw food also tastes good and leads to fewer calories with the same feeling of satiety.

So is cooked food bad for our bodies?

It's not all black or white. Accordingly, the question of whether cooked food is bad cannot be answered with a clear yes or no. First of all, it is important to clearly differentiate which types of fruit and vegetables we are talking about. Fruit is edible raw, except for rhubarb, which is poisonous in its unprocessed form. When it comes to vegetables, the list is a bit longer. The main foods that cannot be digested when they are not cooked are potatoes, aubergines and legumes such as beans, peas and lentils. Unprocessed grain is also difficult for the human digestive tract to digest. Raw food as a pure form of nutrition is therefore rejected for the sole reason that many important nutrients are contained in foods that are not even edible uncooked. In addition, some vegetables are better eaten cooked because they contain vitamins and minerals that depend on fats and proteins to be fully absorbed by the body.

What does our gut actually say about this?

The intestinal flora is a genius. She adjusts to what we eat. If we do not eat any raw food at all, then our body is either completely or partially lacking in certain intestinal bacteria. This can lead to unsightly digestive problems. Raw food is therefore an important part of a balanced diet. However, a radical shift to more raw food can also challenge our bodies. Because raw fruit and vegetables are rich in acids, fibers and other substances that can lead to flatulence and fermentation processes. This is due to the composition of the intestinal bacteria. As soon as the body realizes the change and the intestinal bacteria responsible for digesting raw food are active, there is no more gas formation. For this reason, many people only tolerate raw food to a limited extent at the beginning.

The Golden middle

As so often in life: the right balance is crucial. Of the recommended 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, around half should be cooked and the other half eaten raw. On the one hand, there are certain foods that can only be made edible by heating them, and at the same time there are some vitamins and minerals that can be better absorbed by our body through further processing. Experts therefore advise against eating only raw fruit and vegetables. However, it is also clear that many vitamins and trace elements are reduced by heating. This is partly dependent on the cooking method and the type of vitamins. So our conclusion on the question of how healthy raw food really is is: The mix has to be right. A balanced diet should include both raw and cooked fruits and vegetables.