METHODS OF FOOD PREPARATION

19.   METHODS OF FOOD PREPARATION

 

 

  It would be easy to pick a few books and a handful of research studies to justify that food should be eaten raw. It would also be just   as easy to find a similar number of research and studies that prove that food should be cooked before it is eaten. Let’s look at some of the science behind eating raw or eating cooked.

 

 

Eat raw vs. cooked

 First why raw?  Raw food builds up your system.   Raw or live food possesses the highest nutritional value.   It is full of vitamins, mineral, enzymes, phytochemicals, etc.   Raw food, when it is picked ripe, has enzymes in it that help break down that food in the upper stomach where it sits for 30 to 45 minutes. The enzymes in the food predigest that food. Then in the small intestine the pancreas excretes more enzymes.  

Nutrients in food can be diminished through processing (cutting, chopping, mashing), cooking or heating.  Almost every food preparation process degrades or reduces the amount of nutrients in food. In particular, processes that expose foods to high levels of heat, light, and/or oxygen cause the greatest nutrient loss.  Additionally, nutrients can also be “washed out” of the food through the cooking process which involves water.  For example boiling of potato can result in the vitamin B and C being leached into the boiling water.  The nutrients would be lost if you drain the liquid but you will still benefit from those nutrients if you consume the liquid example in soup.   

 Most forms of cooking reduce the total nutrient content of vegetables, although the degree to which this happens varies between nutrients and with cooking methods (eg. microwaved, fried, boil, etc) and time.   The table below compares the typical maximum nutrient losses for common food processing methods as a general guide. 

Typical Maximum Nutrient Losses (as compared to raw food)

Vitamins

Freeze

Dry

Cook

Cook+Drain

Reheat

Vitamin A

5%

50%

25%

35%

10%

Retinol Activity Equivalent

5%

50%

25%

35%

10%

  Alpha Carotene

5%

50%

25%

35%

10%

  Beta Carotene

5%

50%

25%

35%

10%

  Beta Cryptoxanthin

5%

50%

25%

35%

10%

  Lycopene

5%

50%

25%

35%

10%

  Lutein+Zeaxanthin

5%

50%

25%

35%

10%

Vitamin C

30%

80%

50%

75%

50%

Thiamin

5%

30%

55%

70%

40%

Riboflavin

0%

10%

25%

45%

5%

Niacin

0%

10%

40%

55%

5%

Vitamin B6

0%

10%

50%

65%

45%

Folate

5%

50%

70%

75%

30%

  Food Folate

5%

50%

70%

75%

30%

  Folic Acid

5%

50%

70%

75%

30%

Vitamin B12

0%

0%

45%

50%

45%

Minerals

Freeze

Dry

Cook

Cook+Drain

Reheat

Calcium

5%

0%

20%

25%

0%

Iron

0%

0%

35%

40%

0%

Magnesium

0%

0%

25%

40%

0%

Phosphorus

0%

0%

25%

35%

0%

Potassium

10%

0%

30%

70%

0%

Sodium

0%

0%

25%

55%

0%

Zinc

0%

0%

25%

25%

0%

Copper

10%

0%

40%

45%

0%

Source:  http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/processing

When you eat cooked, irradiated and processed foods, the enzymes have been killed; the food does not predigest in the upper stomach.  So when it reaches the lower stomach the pancreas must make extra enzymes to try and break down the food.   Hence, more effort may be needed in digestion.

Eating raw food may be the hardest thing to follow especially if you have advanced cancer.   The doctor may prescribe mainly raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and sprouted grains until your cancer is in remission.   Sounds tough, but this is much easier than taking chemotherapy.   If you need to eat raw, try learning to prepare the traditional ‘ulam’ or ‘kerabu’ dishes and juicing.

 Some vegetables are better cooked

 That said, cooking also increases the bioavailability of some nutrients.  For example carrots, spinach, and broccoli, have very thick cell walls; which is where the nutrients are hidden, and that the human body is not good at breaking down. Cooking actually helps dissolve the cellulose walls so your body can absorb more of the vegetable's nutrients.

 In an experiment carried out by the University of Arkansas published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry on the effect of cooking on carrots, it was noted that the antioxidant power of the cooked carrots was greater - on average 34% higher than for raw carrots.  

 Cooked tomatoes will lose some of their vitamin C, but the cooking process actually boosts the availability of lycopene; an antioxidant found in tomatoes.  You get more of the lycopene in cooked compared to sliced raw tomato.  As such try making homemade tomato sauce or stewed tomatoes instead.  Cooking mushrooms allows the anticancer polysaccharides to be released from the hard to digest cell structure of the fungus.

 So what’s the bottom line?

 Based on what has been discussed, heat can be safely and beneficially used for cooking most foods, and in some cases, the use of heat and traditional cooking temperatures will produce    improved nutritional value.

 Points to note on cooking:

 The type of cooking depends on vegetable type, but to make the most of the nutritional potential – use quick steam or light stir-fry

  • Water-soluble vitamins like B and C can leach out of the vegetables and into the cooking water. Therefore cook the vegetables with as little water as possible or no water - and not for too long.  Save the water which contains valuable nutrients that leeched out during the cooking process and use it in soups. 
  • As a general rule, minerals can take the heat. Dry heat, such as baking or roasting hardly     affects mineral content at all.  
  • Fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, K and carotenoids are less affected by this heat.
  • Don’t skimp on good healthy fat such as olive oil, coconut oil, butter, or fat from organically raised meat. The fat enhances flavor and makes some antioxidant and vitamin (fat soluble) compounds more available. Use fat to increase your energy intake. 
  • Cooking times for vegetables should be long enough to soften the vegetables so that they can be chewed into fine particles. This also frees antioxidants and other compounds from the fibrous cell structure of vegetables, which make the nutrients more available for digestion
  • Based on the study done by Dr. Mary Enig (Board Member Emeritus of the Westeon A. Price Foundation), all enzymes are deactivated at a wet-heat temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit (480 C), and a dry-heat temperature of about 150 degrees Fahrenheit ( 650C)
  • Cooking does damage phytochemical content, but cooking also softens cell structure of plants, which helps to release more phytochemical compounds. Thus, depending on the vegetable being cooked, the cooking method, and the phytonutrient compound being studied, cooking can provide greater nutrient availability.
  • If you have trouble chewing food, cut the food (especially meat) into smaller pieces and make them into porridge, stew or soup.
  • It is also important to keep good kitchen hygiene.

 Juice your fruits and vegetables

 Juicing is the best way of getting the phytonutrients; vitamins, minerals and enzymes into the body while giving the digestion a break.   Juicing allows easier digestion and absorption.  This is particularly suitable in ill and weak patients as digestion consumes a large amount of energy and healing resources are vitally needed for fighting the cancer.

 When we eat whole foods our body needs to separate the fiber (which doesn’t contain nutrients, but is important for roughage and also the good bacteria growth in the gut) and the juice (where all the nutrients are).  While the fiber content takes a beating, juices deliver a powerful array of  vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are absorbed immediately into the blood stream.

 Juicing also allows you to consume larger quantities of fruit and vegetables which otherwise would need consumption of large amount of fiber filled food (I.e. 4-5 sticks of carrot vs. 1 cup of carrot juice). 

 It is preferable to drink vegetable juice than fruit juice as it contains less sugar, however to make it palatable, small quantity of fruits can be included.   For more information please refer to the section on juicing.

 Healing soup

 Making healing soup is also another excellent way of delivering nutrients into the body.  Healing soup is made up of a potpourri of vegetables such as potatoes (or pumpkins, yams etc.), carrots, celery, chives, lots of   onions, garlic and tomatoes (you can add any locally available vegetables).  Add water just to cover the vegetables and cook until soft.  Add a pinch of sea salt and herbs.  Wait till the soup is cool, then blend.  You can make more and keep the soup in small   containers and refrigerate them for later use.  If you want to make the soup richer add in coconut cream. 

 Note:  Be creative in your cooking.  You may loose some heat sensitive vitamins and enzymes  through cooking, however you also add in fibers as well as the more heat resistant vitamins,   phytonutrients and minerals which are made more available through the cooking process.

How about grilling?

Grilling, especially over high temperature presents a health risk. Two separate types of carcinogenic compounds are produced by high-temperature grilling.  These are:

- heterocyclic amines (HCAs) - formed when the meet is directly exposed to a flame or very high-temperature surface. HCAs have been shown to cause DNA mutation, and may be a factor in the development of certain cancers.

- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) - form in smoke that's produced when fat from the meat ignites or drips on the hot coals of the grill. Various PAHs present in the resulting smoke, including benzo[a]pyrene and dibenzo[a,h]anthracene, adhere to the outside surface of the grilled meat. PAH exposure is also believed to be linked to certain cancers.

Grilling is not recommended due to the above reasons.  However, if you do want to have barbeque once in a while, then 

  • Grill at lower temperatures or opt for roasting instead
  • Prevent flare-ups.
    Keep a close watch over your grill and turn meats frequentl.
  • Be careful not to overcook meats.  Burnt meats contain higher levels of HCAs.
  • If the meat is charred, scrap off the burnt portion.


 So, should you eat raw or cooked food?  Our recommendations

 There are both pros and cons for either point of view.   But the common consensus is that people who ate larger amounts of vegetable seems to have lower rates of cancer.  Therefore, first and foremost,  increase your vegetable intake and as for cooked or raw - we do not support limiting one’s diet to one or the other. 

Get the best of both options by eating a combination of raw and cooked vegetables in every meal.   

 

 

News & Articles

  • HOW ANTIBIOTICS DESTROY YOUR SYSTEM

    Your immune system is constantly on a seek-and-destroy mission status – on the lookout for foreign invaders, naturally occurring cell defects and mutant cells. The immune system has a vast capacity to remember bad guys and deploy tactics that worked in the past to annihilate the enemy. Some of the fastest growing cells in the human body are immune cells.

    Posted on 16 Mar 2015
  • Colposcopy and Biopsy

    A colposcopy is a way to get a close-up view of the cervix. It is used to detect changes in cervical and vaginal tissues such as abnormal blood vessels, color, patterns and tissue structure . A colposcope, is an instrument with a range of magnifying lens; colour filter and a light are used. The colposcope magnifies the image many times, allowing the gynaecologist to see the tissues on the cervix and vaginal walls more clearly while color filters allow the detection of tiny abnormal blood vess

    Posted on 13 Mar 2015
View All