Is Watermelon Healthy? Plus More Summer Myths Explained
Myth #5: Raw foods are healthier than cooked foods.
Raw-foodists claim that eating food in its raw state preserves all its nutrients, including enzymes that get destroyed by cooking. They make a point…kind of. Cooking can destroy water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, but it also makes other nutrients, like lycopene in tomatoes, more absorbable. While cooking does break down, or “denature,” enzymes, so does stomach acid. Meaning that even if you preserve the enzymes by sparing them the cooking process, most of the enzymes will be destroyed through digestion anyway. This is not to say that eating a raw-food diet is necessarily unhealthy. On the contrary, a 2005 study in The Journal of Nutrition found that raw-foodists were far less likely than the general population to register high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. On the flip side, 38% of the study’s 201 subjects were deficient in vitamin B12, a nutrient that’s also important for heart health.