What About Raw Food?
What is the big deal about a raw foods diet?
When foods are uncooked then we call them raw. By this definition, all salads are raw, as is cole slaw and sauerkraut (not if it has been canned or jarred because then it has been heated to destroy bacteria in order to preserve it).
What is the advantage of raw foods? And what about organic food and organic gardening?
Nutritionally we know that all foods from the plant kingdom contain their own enzymes. These enzymes assist in breaking down and assimilating the food so that our body can use it for fuel. Heat (read cooking and pasteurizing) kills these enzymes.
Doesn’t our body provide its own enzymes?
Yes. The saliva in our mouth breaks down carbohydrates. That is why it is important to thoroughly chew your food; it gives the ptyalin enzyme more time to do its work. The stomach secretes hydrochloric acid to break down and digest protein. It is very powerful, ask anyone who has had acid indigestion. And finally the pancreas secretes its own set of enzymes to finish the job of digesting carbohydrates in the small intestine. Oh, and I almost forgot, the liver manufactures bile (which it stores in the gall bladder) to digest fats.
So, if our body produces all these enzymes, why do we have to worry about losing the ones in vegetables when we cook them?
There are two reasons raw foods are better for us. First of all, the production of digestive enzymes requires energy. Secondly, many of the natural enzymes found in the plant kingdom assist the biochemical interactions throughout the body, helping the body to produce energy efficiently and to repair the body at a cellular level.
When foods are grown without the use of caustic chemical sprays and fertilizers as in organic gardening, studies have shown they contain higher amounts of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.