| Learn Ayurveda
| The Raw Versus Cooked Food Debate
Raw food offers nutritional benefits but is more difficult to digest, causing gas and bloating. The nutritional benefits are then outweighed by the toxicity of food fermenting in the gut. Indigestible food is considered poison in Ayurveda. As Dr. Robert Svoboda says, 'Even the nectar of immortality is a poison if the body can't digest it." Many undercooked foods are hard and chewy, and hard to chew usually means hard to digest
. The measure of good food is not just its contents, but its interaction with our body.
Cooked food is easy to digest but destroys some vitamins and enzymes. Neither is superior. The real answer to the cooked or raw debate depends on the digestive strength of the individual. Pitta people have the strongest digestive strength and can tolerate more raw foods than other doshas.
Undercooked food often contains parasites. Whether or not the issue is publicized, parasites are common in every country including developed industrialized nations.
questions, comments & reviews
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thanks for this wonderful information. I have a couple of questions:
- is there a point of cooking that destroys the vitamins, enzymes completely?
- are there other things than vitamins and enzymes that get destroyed (does cooking affect amino acids, fiber, minerals, etc.)
- how do you find information that a "raw" food is easy to digest or not … eg. For me (Vata) eating carrots raw has different effects to eating kale raw.
- is bloating, gas, constipation the primary symptoms of undigested food? Any other you can suggest to keep track of how body is reacting?
- Manoj, Marietta, GA, 01-13-11
I do not know the rate of enzyme and vitamin breakdown. I imagine it happens quickly depending on the molecule. Cooking will not affect amino acids or minerals. They are already broken down to their core. Cooking will soften fibers.
Experimentation is a great way to find which raw ingredients digest better than others. Generally, foods difficult to digest when cooked are also difficult when raw.
Burping, bloating, gas, tired after eating, constipation, diarrhea, etc. All signs of indigestion and poor bowel health are signs of poor digestive health.
--why is it that sometimes I find recipe's in Ayurveda that combine tomatoes and lemon juice... when in the rulebook it says these two don't combine well. What are your thoughts on this? Why can't I mix cucumber and lemon juice together? It's a childhood treat I enjoy and I'd like to know why they can't be mixed.
- Andrea Nicole Serrato
- Andrea, Los angeles, CA, 01-30-12
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