For starters, we need to categorically differentiate between a raw food diet and eating foods raw from time to time. If you search online, there is a lot of literature on how a raw food diet is bad for your health in the long run owing to numerous factors, none of which are completely untrue. However, bear in mind that the same does not stand true if you eat raw foods every now and again (say for example in salads); in fact, eating raw vegetables will benefit you in many ways.
Here, the discussion will be on the myths surrounding raw vegetables and not a raw fruit diet as a whole. Also bear in mind that most things on this list will be vehemently opposed by detractors of a raw food diet, but the advice given here is to incorporate raw vegetables in the diet, not to develop a diet consisting of raw foods alone.
6 Myths About Raw Vegetables
Myth 1 – Raw vegetables lead to indigestion
The myth does have some basis since most raw vegetables contain cellulose, which is hard to digest for the body. Cooking vegetables helps to release the fiber trapped in them, which in turn allows for easier digestion. However, the myth remains valid only if you eat nothing other than raw foods. When complemented with other foods, the portion of the vegetable which the body cannot digest will be simply excreted with other waste, without causing any indigestion in most cases.
Myth 2 – Cooking does not destroy any nutrients
While it is true that cooking in certain cases enhances certain nutrients (most notably lycopene in tomatoes) and destroys harmful anti-nutrients, it is untrue that no nutrients are lost during cooking. In fact, some nutrients from any food, not just vegetables, are lost in the cooking process. Speaking specifically of vegetables, the nutrients that are lost most often during the cooking process are vitamin C and polyphenols, which are essentials for healthy eating.
Myth 3 – Raw vegetables need to be eaten cold
Simply put, ‘no!’ Raw vegetables need not be eaten cold, they can be heated (not cooked) to about a 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Needless to say, heating them is not the same as cooking them, and nutritionally you will still be consuming a raw vegetable.
Myth 4 – Frozen vegetables are unhealthy
This is another half-baked myth that leaves out a very important part. The unhealthiness of a frozen vegetable (or any other food) is subject to the processing and preservation. Even in cases where other ingredients are used in the processes, the health quotient of the food is subject to the specific ingredients that have been added. In a nutshell, if a vegetable has been packed and frozen without any processing or preservatives, it often contains the same nutritional value as when it was fresh.
Myth 5 – Celery and lettuce contain no nutrients
This one is a huge myth; any food has nutrients, just as any food has calories. Celery and lettuce have a large amount of water content (which is the reason why it’s sometimes thought that they contain no nutrients), but they also provide for healthy eating owing to the large amounts of vitamins and minerals they pack.
Myth 6 – Eating raw foods will fulfill your nutritional requirements
As stated earlier, raw vegetables are only a supplement to your regular food regimen and should not be treated as a complete replacement for cooked foods. While they do prove a worthy nutritional add-on to your diet, a good balanced diet is essential for fulfilling all your nutritional requirements.
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Shishir Rao is a web writer who writes on a variety of topics ranging from health to technology. He uses the web as his preferred tool of information dissemination owing to its reach and easy to confirm credibility.