June 5, 2019

(T:註冊營養師 @tsheknutrition Tiffany Shek,C:註冊中醫師Cinci EC)



Is food healthier when it is cold and raw?
(T: Tiffany Shek, Registered Dietitian, C: Cinci EC, Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner)
T: Not necessarily. For example, raw tomatoes contain more vitamin C, but the cooking process increases the content of lycopene (an antioxidant), while the vitamin C is decreased. Boiling vegetables leaches out water-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins B and C, into the water. Therefore, besides eating them raw, we can consume the soup used to boil our vegetables to obtain the water-soluble vitamins. We can also preserve the nutrients by steaming vegetables. Some studies have also shown that cooking spinach and carrots increases the bioavailability of carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in our bodies. Therefore, not all vegetables are healthier eaten raw. Different coloured vegetables have different nutritional values thus we can eat according to the principle of rainbow diet, by having red, orange, yellow, green, blue,
and purple fruits and vegetables, to absorb different nutrients for better health!

C: We must first understand that what is “cold/raw” from Chinese medicine perspective. “Raw” refers to uncooked food like salad, sashimi or sushi, etc. You can consume ripened fruit at room temperature in moderation but it is not recommended to drink juice too often. “Cold” refers to food which is below room temperature including food that has just been taken out of the fridge. Chinese medicine believes that cold/raw food harms the spleen and stomach, which causes dampness in the body. The absorption and fluid transportation function of the spleen would be affected and cause phlegm body condition. This can lead to asthenic spleen and stomach symptoms such as diarrhea, edema, yellowish complexion, loose muscles and fatigue. Moreover, excessive consumption of cold/raw food and drinks can damage the body’s yang qi which affects the blood and qi circulation and lead to qi stagnation and blood stasis body constitutions. Women are prone to menstrual pain and cold limbs, so Chinese medicine often suggests for everyone to eat less cold/raw food.

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