Raw vs. Cooked Vegetable

Cleansing does not mean fasting, nor should it for most people. It also doesn’t not mean eating only raw fruits and vegetables, nor should it, especially in a climate like ours in Vermont.

Raw vegetables are cold and hard to digest. Some people say that cooking vegetables kills the enzymes and therefore raw is better. This is not altogether true. Raw vegetables do have enzymes, but enzymes are also made by the body.

It is much easier to digest cooked vegetables. Cooking softens and warms food, which gives your digestive system a head start.

The body makes enzymes to break down food, starting in our mouth with salivary amylase. The pancreas’ main job is to secrete enzymes to help digest food.

Some minerals are more available after cooking a vegetable. An example is kale. Kale has lots of magnesium, and its bio-availability is significantly enhanced with cooking. Raw kale is hard on the spleen and stomach. I sometimes put a little in my morning smoothie, but I think of it more as a source of fiber than a source of magnesium.

In Chinese medicine we consider the stomach to prefer warmth. In fact, warmth helps the digestion process. The stomach essentially tries to make a warm soup out of our food. When foods are cold, it has to work harder.

When you are eat raw vegetables, please at least take them out of the fridge a while before you eat them. Your stomach will thank you. That said, I think eating a mixture of cooked and raw food is a fine idea. Try putting some steamed broccoli and kale in your salad.

This entry was posted in Healthful Eating and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.