Is it better to eat cooked or raw food?
We already know that the microbiome is influenced a lot by the type of foods you eat. Studies about how raw versus cooked meals affect gut flora have been less abundant. That’s why I was particularly interested in a study conducted by Harvard University and the University of San Francisco.
In this study, rodents were fed raw meat and cooked meat as well as raw and cooked sweet potato. They found no discernible difference between how raw and cooked meat affects gut bacteria. However, they found a significant difference between the impact of raw sweet potato and cooked sweet potato.
The researchers propose that the raw sweet potato was digested at a slightly different region of the digestive tract than the cooked version. It was also noted that certain raw vegetables, including sweet potato, contain compounds that are harmful to gut microbes. In other words, it’s in our best interest to cook certain foods.
In my opinion, tubers should always be cooked. If you look at indigenous people, they always scrubbed and cooked tubers, potatoes, and cassava.
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In my experience, once you cook sweet potato, it’s exceptionally good for the large intestine. People who eat sweet potatoes regularly tend to be much healthier than people who don’t eat any.
I like raw meat. I like the texture and taste. I’ve done that now all my life. If you look around the world, many populations and many cultures have eaten a combination of raw and cooked foods for many years.
In my opinion, there is no doubt that partially cooked food is often better than food that is cooked right through. I like to keep a bit of snap in my stir-fried vegetables, for example. Partially cooked food still allows your gastric acid and enzymes to digest your meal efficiently but without destroying valuable phytochemicals.
So, am I a fan of raw food? Yes, I am. Am I a fan of cooked food? Yes, I am. I’m a fan of all sorts of foods, as long as it’s healthy food prepared in the right way. Some foods are simply not meant to be cooked. For example, I would never cook alfalfa sprouts.
And remember, your gut flora doesn’t just reflect how you cook your food. It also reflects your lifestyle and habits.