Warren Willey

Warren Willey

Raw or cooked? Which is the best way to eat your food? There are diet plans out there that say raw is better than cooked and vice versa. But what is best in the big picture of health? Let’s quickly define that “big picture.”

Are we talking about disease prevention or disease treatment? Is there a notable difference in the early stage of any disease by eating raw or cooked foods?

For the sake of space and time, let’s call this the “big picture” the best thing for most people reading this article — no matter what the current or future concerns may be.

With that in mind, you need to know that eating certain foods raw is certainly better. Cooking foods of the Cruciferous vegetable family, such as cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli, destroys enzymes that can be of great benefit to your digestive system, which is the pathway to health. Your digestive system (henceforth called the gut) is your second brain.

There are more neurotransmitters (brain hormones) in your gut than between your ears. Much of your immune system surrounds that tube called your gut. So what stresses out your gut, stresses out your immune system.

Most of us are familiar with all the bad things that happen when your immune system is stressed… autoimmune disease, cancers, vascular disease, etc. Carrots fall into this category as well.

Raw is best. Right out of the ground with a little dirt still on them is ideal. Tomatoes and mushrooms are better for you when cooked, as the heat helps release chemicals, such as lycopene and polysaccharides, that have an amazing property of fighting cancer.

So with all the foods available to us, what do we cook and what do we eat raw for the best health benefits? With complete disclosure, my answer has no science behind it: Ask your grandmother how to cook or not to cook your food.

Anecdotal as it is, thumbing through grandmothers’ recipes from both families (in my case), it is all laid out. They knew. How they knew, I have no idea, but when I match the current science to foods and grandmas’ recipes, there is an amazing correlation.

Mom (and grandma) were right. Eat like they taught you before convenience stores and fast food joints showed up on every corner…

Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at http://drwilley.com.