Raw food vs prepared food

How true is the famous assumption that raw(uncooked) fruits and vegetables are much healthier than the cooked ones?

Thank you.

Consuming raw foods has its pluses and minuses. Depending upon the type of food you are talking about, you may be getting the maximum nutritional benefits, but also risking your food safety. To preserve as many of the vitamins and minerals as we can, the following tips were recommended in the book The Essential Guide to Vitamins & Minerals by E. Somer, M.A., R.D.:

  • Purchase only the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables that will be eaten within a few days.

  • Store refrigerated foods at less than 40ø F, frozen foods below 0ø F and canned and dry goods in a cool, dry place. Even small fluctuations in temperature can result in considerable loss of vitamin C in frozen foods.

  • Store canned or frozen foods for no more than 3 to 5 months as the vitamin content can decline as much as 75% or more with longer storage times.

  • Store bulk dried beans and peas, noodles, rice, and flour in dark containers or in the refrigerator to reduce their exposure to ultraviolet light, which destroys vitamin B2.

-Jane Korsberg

  • Fruits & Vegetables - unbundle any bundled or banded vegetables, discard any soft or decaying pieces, then pop the rest into fresh plastic storage bags. Berries will also last longer if removed from their cartons and placed in a bowl. All vegetables should be unwrapped, then transferred to pristine storage bags. Before serving or cooking, wash all fruits and vegetables carefully in several rinses of tepid water, then peel, if necessary.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) adds these suggestions for raw fruit and vegetable safety:

  1. Wash produce in water. Use a scrub brush. Rinse thoroughly.

  2. Discard the outer leaves of leafy vegetables (i.e. lettuce).

  3. Cut rinds off of melons or scrub the outside of your melon. Melon skins can be washed with a diluted chlorine bleach solution. According to the Ohio Cooperative Extension Service, mix one teaspoon of bleach (regular bleach with no scent) in a gallon of water. Rinse thoroughly. The quantity of bleach used should not exceed one Tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water. For more detailed information, try their website (listed below).

  4. Peel waxed fruit and vegetables (waxes can seal in pesticide residues).

  5. Peel vegetables such as carrots (this will remove pesticides that remain in or on the peel).

  6. Do not cut vegetables on a cutting board or surface that was just used for raw meat (that includes the knife used too). This will cross-contaminate.

  7. Do not store vegetables below meat in the refrigerator. The raw meat drippings may fall on them and cause contamination.

  8. Keep your refrigerator produce drawer clean and sanitized.

So, without worrying about percentages, I suggest you enjoy at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (raw or cooked, once carefully handled and prepared) and stick with cooking your meats, fish, poultry and eggs thoroughly as described above. Thanks for your question!