The cooking of food has been a long age tradition. Without cooking some raw food, we cannot ingest natural, unprocessed foods. Here in this article, we will highlight the importance of cooking food before eating and eating cooked food with tips from culinary travel with the International Kitchen.
Advantages Of Cooking Food
- Cooking removes toxic compounds, such as bacteria and microorganisms from meat, fish, eggs, or edible mushrooms.
- Cooking is a way of preserving food: jams, preserves, pickles, sterilization.
- Depending on what foods we cook and how we can decrease or increase its antioxidant power through cooking.
- Cooking is a pre-digestion: it unfolds certain nutrients and, on many occasions, facilitates their assimilation. Also, the body needs less enzyme production to digest cooked vegetables.
- Improves the palatability of food: taste and texture. It also improves digestibility and assimilation, vital for proper nutrition, and allows us to eat more vegetables. Cooking can make it easier to access more nutrients, and eating more cooked vegetables (even if they have lost some of their nutrients) may be preferable to not eating them. In other words, if cooking vegetables invites us to eat them in greater quantity, then welcome!
- Numerous antinutrients and enzymes are reduced or destroyed. We put some examples:
- The enzyme ascorbic acid oxidase, which destroys vitamin C, is inactivated by heat and can be found in pumpkin, tomato, or carrot.
- Oxalic acid, which prevents the absorption of some minerals and is present in green leafy vegetables, is reduced by cooking.
- The goitrogenic substances present in the cabbage family’s vegetables, among others, reduce the absorption of iodine. Its enzymatic activity is also inactivated by heat.
- Inhibitory factors, such as ant amylases or antiproteases in some foods, are denatured, preventing the use of carbohydrates or proteins if they are not cooked.
- Some foods need to be cooked to be suitable for our digestive systems, such as cereals, tubers, and legumes. Cooking these foods alters their cellular structure so that the nutrients become more accessible to the digestive enzymes in our body.
- Eating raw vegetables can often imply a more significant digestive effort and weakening. In traditional oriental medicines such as Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is recommended not to abuse raw and sometimes avoid them altogether.
- Boiling or steaming reduces the number of pesticides in food, which partly pass into the cooking water (*).
- People who are sick or with inflamed intestinal mucosa may find it impossible to eat raw food. In such cases, it is more appropriate to eat cooked food.
- In cold seasons, cooked foods give us heat.