Raw vs. Cooked Vegetables

Posted by on Feb 5, 2012 in Blog | No Comments

Have you ever had an acupuncturist advise you to limit raw food, but not understand why?  In the US, we think that salads and raw veggies are the healthiest foods to eat. But acupuncturists claim that raw food is harder to absorb, provides less energy for our bodies, and if consumed long term can damage the digestive organs.

The article Why Calorie Counts Are Wrong: Cooked Food Provides a Lot More Energy discusses why cooked food has more calories than raw food.  The author concludes that eating raw food will help with weight loss, and cooked food will further weight gain. And I would agree with him if weight gain or loss was only attributed to calories.

However, weight loss also has to do with how efficiently we are able to digest our food. We spend energy with digestion, and if this process is impaired, it tends to bog the whole body down. Many of my patients who predominantly eat raw food diets often struggle with fatigue, poor memory, cold or heavy sensations in their limbs, depression, gas, frequent bowel movements, and loose stools or diarrhea. These signs suggest to me that they are not digesting optimally, and therefore not fully absorbing nutrients, and the diet ends up hurting their overall health.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone. I’m sure there are plenty of people eating raw food diets without these issues, and more power to them. Diet is not “one size fits all,” and it is important to figure out what works best for your unique body.  But I do generally advise patients who want to lose weight, eat healthier, have more energy, and in general feel better to eat a diet high in vegetables that have been lightly steamed. By cooking vegetables first, you give your body a little extra boost for proper breakdown and absorption of those wonderful nutrients.

Did you know that many acupuncturists are trained in nutrition?  Portland acupuncturist Boynn McIntire offers dietary therapy with acupuncture. If you struggle with weight, allergies, fatigue, or digestive disorders, acupuncture with dietary therapy may greatly help. For a free consultation, call All and One Acupuncture at (503) 281-6909 or schedule online.

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