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Toxicity of raw foods?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi, I was reading through the raw food forum and was just curious. I know I have read that certain foods are more toxic raw than cooked (cashews are poisonous raw, for example, and button mushrooms). I've also read there are certain nutrients that become more available to the body through cooked vegetables, like lycopene in tomatoes. How do you reconcile this with eating raw? Do you avoid the "toxic" raw food? Are there certain raw vegetables you don't eat?



I'm not being judgmental, I'm just curious.
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 

Toxicity of raw foods?

Hi, I was reading through the raw food forum and was just curious. I know I have read that certain foods are more toxic raw than cooked (cashews are poisonous raw, for example, and button mushrooms). I've also read there are certain nutrients that become more available to the body through cooked vegetables, like lycopene in tomatoes. How do you reconcile this with eating raw? Do you avoid the "toxic" raw food? Are there certain raw vegetables you don't eat?



I'm not being judgmental, I'm just curious.
post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cojo View Post

Hi, I was reading through the raw food forum and was just curious. I know I have read that certain foods are more toxic raw than cooked (cashews are poisonous raw, for example, and button mushrooms). I've also read there are certain nutrients that become more available to the body through cooked vegetables, like lycopene in tomatoes. How do you reconcile this with eating raw? Do you avoid the "toxic" raw food? Are there certain raw vegetables you don't eat?



I'm not being judgmental, I'm just curious.

Cashews aren't poisonous when raw? Where did you hear that?

“May all sentient beings be free of pain and suffering.  May all sentient beings experience eternal joy and happiness.  gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.”
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“May all sentient beings be free of pain and suffering.  May all sentient beings experience eternal joy and happiness.  gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.”
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http://twitter.com/#!/MartyBaureis
http://doktormartini.tumblr.com

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post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cojo View Post

Hi, I was reading through the raw food forum and was just curious. I know I have read that certain foods are more toxic raw than cooked (cashews are poisonous raw, for example, and button mushrooms). I've also read there are certain nutrients that become more available to the body through cooked vegetables, like lycopene in tomatoes. How do you reconcile this with eating raw? Do you avoid the "toxic" raw food? Are there certain raw vegetables you don't eat?



I'm not being judgmental, I'm just curious.

Cashews aren't poisonous when raw? Where did you hear that?

“May all sentient beings be free of pain and suffering.  May all sentient beings experience eternal joy and happiness.  gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.”
http://www.facebook.com/doktormartini
http://twitter.com/#!/MartyBaureis
http://doktormartini.tumblr.com

Reply

“May all sentient beings be free of pain and suffering.  May all sentient beings experience eternal joy and happiness.  gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.”
http://www.facebook.com/doktormartini
http://twitter.com/#!/MartyBaureis
http://doktormartini.tumblr.com

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post #5 of 16
there is an oil -urushiol- poison ivy type stuff, contained in the shell of cashews, which is poisonous. the cashew nut itself, isn't, but cashews aren't generally truely raw, cos they're heated in the process of removing the oil.



i've eaten raw button mushrooms all the time as a kid- i didn't ever hear that they were toxic.... was i risking death by doing so? i just googled it, this page says something about hydrazines... wikipedia says something about rocket fuel.... ah well, i survived.. didn't go into orbit or nothing.
post #6 of 16
there is an oil -urushiol- poison ivy type stuff, contained in the shell of cashews, which is poisonous. the cashew nut itself, isn't, but cashews aren't generally truely raw, cos they're heated in the process of removing the oil.



i've eaten raw button mushrooms all the time as a kid- i didn't ever hear that they were toxic.... was i risking death by doing so? i just googled it, this page says something about hydrazines... wikipedia says something about rocket fuel.... ah well, i survived.. didn't go into orbit or nothing.
post #7 of 16
Yea, I've had raw button mushrooms...

I think it's one of those things that maybe can be toxic, but typically isn't. Such as you're not supposed to eat raw cookie dough because of the raw egg in it (well, obviously not saying this as if you were a vegan lol) but a ton of people will still eat it and I've never heard of a death by cookie dough.



Also, as for cooked tomatoes...

Eating an organic tomato will give you the basic same amount of lycopene as cooking a conventional tomato (there was recently a study showing that organic tomatoes contain more lycopene that ones that are conventionally grown). Saw raw foodists could just eat organic ones (if they weren't already) and get the same lycopene as those who heat traditional ones.



I for one (not a raw foodist, but interested in the whole thing somewhat), don't really eat tomatoes that have been cooked unless they're in a sauce...in fact I don't know many people who eat them otherwise. Everyone hasn't started cooking their tomatoes for their salads yet so I think until then I'm good with the uncooked amount of lycopene.
post #8 of 16
Yea, I've had raw button mushrooms...

I think it's one of those things that maybe can be toxic, but typically isn't. Such as you're not supposed to eat raw cookie dough because of the raw egg in it (well, obviously not saying this as if you were a vegan lol) but a ton of people will still eat it and I've never heard of a death by cookie dough.



Also, as for cooked tomatoes...

Eating an organic tomato will give you the basic same amount of lycopene as cooking a conventional tomato (there was recently a study showing that organic tomatoes contain more lycopene that ones that are conventionally grown). Saw raw foodists could just eat organic ones (if they weren't already) and get the same lycopene as those who heat traditional ones.



I for one (not a raw foodist, but interested in the whole thing somewhat), don't really eat tomatoes that have been cooked unless they're in a sauce...in fact I don't know many people who eat them otherwise. Everyone hasn't started cooking their tomatoes for their salads yet so I think until then I'm good with the uncooked amount of lycopene.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegreenmom View Post




Also, as for cooked tomatoes...

Eating an organic tomato will give you the basic same amount of lycopene as cooking a conventional tomato (there was recently a study showing that organic tomatoes contain more lycopene that ones that are conventionally grown). Saw raw foodists could just eat organic ones (if they weren't already) and get the same lycopene as those who heat traditional ones.

You say there was a study that shows organic tomatoes have more than regular. But that study does not mean that an organic one has as much or more than a cooked regular tomato.



Fact is, some foods have vitamins trapped within the fibers or to other chemicals that cannot be released until cooked.



Quote:
Cook your carotenoids. Carrots, squash, tomatoes, and a variety of orange, green and red vegetables are full of carotenoids, chemicals responsible for a slew of healthful effects. Among other benefits, carotenoids help prevent cancer cells from multiplying, keep eyes healthy, preserve memory and stimulate DNA-repairing enzymes. All these vegetables are good for you when eaten raw; they're crunchy and make fine additions to salads or accompaniments to dip. But if you want to get the most of their nutritional punch, eat them cooked. "Beta-carotene is tightly bound to the protein in a plant, but cooking breaks that binding apart, making the chemical more bioavailable in the human body," says Howard. When Howard and some colleagues tested carrots, they found that levels of beta-carotene and other antioxidants rose when the carrots were pureed and cooked. The levels shot up even higher when the peels were included.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...18/ai_90683760



Quote:
Raw is not necessarily better:



Researchers led by Dr. Luke Howard at the University of Arkansas have now found that cooking carrots increases their antioxidant content by 34 percent. In fact, storing them for a week or two only increased their potency. This is similar to the observations concerning lycopene, the active antioxidant in tomatoes.

Many consumers think that fresh vegetables are always superior in nutritional quality than processed vegetables but this does not appear to be true for carrots," Dr. Luke Howard, the Arkansas study author, said. Leaving the carrots unpeeled is another way of increasing their antioxidant power. "Numerous phenolic compounds are located in the skin of fruits and vegetables, many of which are removed by peeling steps prior to processing,'' he notes. Cooking and storing breaks down the tough cells walls of the vegetables and frees the phenolic compounds that provide most of their antioxidant power.

http://blcwebcafe.org/nutrition.asp



To me, eating only raw foods seems like an ideology not based in science.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegreenmom View Post




Also, as for cooked tomatoes...

Eating an organic tomato will give you the basic same amount of lycopene as cooking a conventional tomato (there was recently a study showing that organic tomatoes contain more lycopene that ones that are conventionally grown). Saw raw foodists could just eat organic ones (if they weren't already) and get the same lycopene as those who heat traditional ones.

You say there was a study that shows organic tomatoes have more than regular. But that study does not mean that an organic one has as much or more than a cooked regular tomato.



Fact is, some foods have vitamins trapped within the fibers or to other chemicals that cannot be released until cooked.



Quote:
Cook your carotenoids. Carrots, squash, tomatoes, and a variety of orange, green and red vegetables are full of carotenoids, chemicals responsible for a slew of healthful effects. Among other benefits, carotenoids help prevent cancer cells from multiplying, keep eyes healthy, preserve memory and stimulate DNA-repairing enzymes. All these vegetables are good for you when eaten raw; they're crunchy and make fine additions to salads or accompaniments to dip. But if you want to get the most of their nutritional punch, eat them cooked. "Beta-carotene is tightly bound to the protein in a plant, but cooking breaks that binding apart, making the chemical more bioavailable in the human body," says Howard. When Howard and some colleagues tested carrots, they found that levels of beta-carotene and other antioxidants rose when the carrots were pureed and cooked. The levels shot up even higher when the peels were included.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...18/ai_90683760



Quote:
Raw is not necessarily better:



Researchers led by Dr. Luke Howard at the University of Arkansas have now found that cooking carrots increases their antioxidant content by 34 percent. In fact, storing them for a week or two only increased their potency. This is similar to the observations concerning lycopene, the active antioxidant in tomatoes.

Many consumers think that fresh vegetables are always superior in nutritional quality than processed vegetables but this does not appear to be true for carrots," Dr. Luke Howard, the Arkansas study author, said. Leaving the carrots unpeeled is another way of increasing their antioxidant power. "Numerous phenolic compounds are located in the skin of fruits and vegetables, many of which are removed by peeling steps prior to processing,'' he notes. Cooking and storing breaks down the tough cells walls of the vegetables and frees the phenolic compounds that provide most of their antioxidant power.

http://blcwebcafe.org/nutrition.asp



To me, eating only raw foods seems like an ideology not based in science.
post #11 of 16
I know nothing about the other things, like carrots. I only know about the tomatoes. I'll try to find the article tomorrow because I found it after I found a link in one of the fitness magazines I subscribed to...and it did specifically mention that it increased the lycopene to almost the same level as a cooked conventional tomato - as I said. Just mostly making this comment to ensure I remember to come back to this thread after Christmas and link to the study.
post #12 of 16
I know nothing about the other things, like carrots. I only know about the tomatoes. I'll try to find the article tomorrow because I found it after I found a link in one of the fitness magazines I subscribed to...and it did specifically mention that it increased the lycopene to almost the same level as a cooked conventional tomato - as I said. Just mostly making this comment to ensure I remember to come back to this thread after Christmas and link to the study.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cojo View Post

I've also read there are certain nutrients that become more available to the body through cooked vegetables, like lycopene in tomatoes. How do you reconcile this with eating raw? Do you avoid the "toxic" raw food?



The lycopene argument seems to be the favorite pro-cooking point out there, but it's just one substance of thousands that we consume -- and by and large, there is a far greater portion of nutrients harmed by heat than made more bioavailable. Scientists and those arguing against raw foods tend to focus on lycopene and ignore the countless other substances that do not withstand heat so well.



Minerals tend to be somewhat hardier, but most vitamins are compromised by cooking -- Vitamin C, for instance, is extremely heat-sensitive; a quick Google search just found that "Green beans lose 72% of Vitamin C when french cut and boiled vs. 46% when cooked whole." A study a while back by Mieko Kimura and Yoshinori Itokawa found that cooked foods lost about 30-40% of their original vitamin and mineral content, though certainly the cooking method played a role, with boiling causing greater losses than steaming and stir-frying.



And with foods both raw and cooked, eating a little fat with them seems to increase the absorption of many nutrients.



As for the toxicity of some raw foods -- I do not eat raw cashews (or any cashews usually) though I eat raw button mushrooms almost daily in a salad, and have never had problems from it... I think most toxic plant food is unpalatable to humans anyway, and if something doesn't sit right with me or tastes awful, I will avoid it.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cojo View Post

I've also read there are certain nutrients that become more available to the body through cooked vegetables, like lycopene in tomatoes. How do you reconcile this with eating raw? Do you avoid the "toxic" raw food?



The lycopene argument seems to be the favorite pro-cooking point out there, but it's just one substance of thousands that we consume -- and by and large, there is a far greater portion of nutrients harmed by heat than made more bioavailable. Scientists and those arguing against raw foods tend to focus on lycopene and ignore the countless other substances that do not withstand heat so well.



Minerals tend to be somewhat hardier, but most vitamins are compromised by cooking -- Vitamin C, for instance, is extremely heat-sensitive; a quick Google search just found that "Green beans lose 72% of Vitamin C when french cut and boiled vs. 46% when cooked whole." A study a while back by Mieko Kimura and Yoshinori Itokawa found that cooked foods lost about 30-40% of their original vitamin and mineral content, though certainly the cooking method played a role, with boiling causing greater losses than steaming and stir-frying.



And with foods both raw and cooked, eating a little fat with them seems to increase the absorption of many nutrients.



As for the toxicity of some raw foods -- I do not eat raw cashews (or any cashews usually) though I eat raw button mushrooms almost daily in a salad, and have never had problems from it... I think most toxic plant food is unpalatable to humans anyway, and if something doesn't sit right with me or tastes awful, I will avoid it.
post #15 of 16
I heard a while back that watermelon is a better source of lycopene than tomatoes, especially when the watermelon is stored at room temperature.
post #16 of 16
Yes, there are other sources of lycopene. When I eat half a watermelon I think I stomp your cooked tomatoes. (Link) But this all begs the question of how much lycopene is the right amount? Ever hear Dr. Graham's opinion on this whole "some things are more available when cooked" thing? Basically it's this: the most prolific source of something isn't always the BEST source of something. Highest source of sun is not the best. Too much vitamin A will kill you. The RIGHT amount of something is whatever most closely matches human biologic needs. Not the most you can get. What precisely is the correct amount of lycopene for an adult male?
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