It’s very rare to find someone that never has any digestive problems. Most people get bloated and has flatulence, are sometimes constipated, and sometimes the opposite. All being a first sign, then comes the diagnoses; Candida over growth, Celiac, intolerance, funguses, IBS, leaky gut, acid reflux, GERD, ulcers, Crohn’s… Our digestive system is complex, and as 80% of our immune system is found there it can also become weak by digestive disorders. As one example statistics show that constipation is a risk factor for cancer. The conclusion stated that the only healthy way to get more bowl movement is eating more whole plant based foods, and that the intake of fiber wasn’t enough.
In another study funded by the National Cancer Institute, 20 participants were encouraged to eat 1 to 2 cups of cruciferous vegetables a day. As I mentioned before the cruciferous are known to fight cancer. After three weeks, the amount of oxidative stress in their body was measured. Then, after a three-week wash-out period, the study participants were told to take a multivitamin with fiber. Again, the oxidative stress was measured three weeks later. And the results? Oxidative stress in the subjects’ bodies dropped 22% during the period when they were eating lots of cruciferous vegetables.
In this context it is too simple to say that Raw is the best. But counting micro-nutrition some food is better when lightly cooked. For example, tomatoes is better tolerated cooked, and the nutritional value rises when heated to about 80 degrees for no longer then 10 minutes, as the so important lycopene increases with an average of 100% but the loss of vitamin C is 10%. For some vegetables it’s the opposite like most bell peppers that doesn’t want to be heated but eaten raw.
Our recommendation is to eat both cooked and raw vegetables, specially the greens. Feel what is best for you, steam or quickly stir fry the ones you like eating cooked and keep the ones that your body can digest raw. Never over cook though. Just like most traditional diets recommend, you could start with the raw, like a salad. Add some fruit, and lemon or lime to start your digestion, eat the cooked food after. If you eat a non-vegan diet it is even more important to sequence your food as otherwise the animal-based food will block the intestines and the easy to digest plant food will ferment as it can’t get through and can cause digestive problems. More about sequencing in another blog.