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        13 Dec 2017, 1:19 pm

        Raw Veggies Debate (Issue 73) by Tiamari

        Enough with the chips and cookies!

        That’s what I decided about 3 weeks ago, when I finally faced the reality that my weight was not-so-perfect these days. But with a busy lifestyle like mine, making time to prepare lunches seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. I am also not too keen on cooking.

        In a desperate attempt at having a healthy lunch instead of cowering off to the local food caravan, I picked up a packet of mixed veggies on my way to work.

        As I snacked on some raw carrots, beans, and other yummy veggies, I remembered a time that this was actually my staple diet. And I remember being healthy and thin at the time.

        IS IT REALLY HEALTHY?

        Apart from being a bit unorthodox, there are some concerns about health risks when consuming raw vegetables.

        Cooking vegetables can neutralize enzymes that could cause digestive problems (gas and bloating) and remove anti-nutrients, which can interfere with the assimilation of vitamins and minerals. Cooking also kills potentially harmful bacteria. Softening the fiber, it furthermore helps us digest food without expending huge amounts of energy.

        SHOULD WE COOK IT?

        The downside of cooking veggies is that it can destroy the Vitamin A and C in them. Vitamin C is highly unstable, and easily degraded through exposure to heat or oxygen. As it dissolves in water, cooking will further reduce its nutritional value.

        Some veggies, including broccoli, are healthier raw than cooked. Just give it a good rinse!

        FOOD PROCESSING

        It's not just what you eat, it’s how you eat it.

        Food processing - like cooking, blending, and mashing - affects calorie content. The more processed food is, the more energy it releases. Highly processed food is more digestible. It’s softer and requires less energy from our bodies to break it down.

        This means that people who eat cooked food are more likely to gain weight, while people who eat raw food are more inclined to lose weight.

        THE VERDICT

        Comparing the risks and benefits of consuming raw food is complex. There are still many mysteries surrounding the interaction of plant molecules with the human body.

        The most important thing is to eat your fruits and veggies, no matter how they are being prepared. If it tastes better prepared, you might be more likely to eat them.

        For maximum benefit, eat at least some of it raw. There are plenty of vegetables you can sink your teeth into, such as carrots, cucumbers and lettuce.

        You can even try some cauliflower, broccoli, beans, peas and butternut without turning into a rabbit.

        Stay healthy!

        Catch up on previous articles on www.tiamari.com and www.wuec.co.za

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