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Raw Food Nutrient Absorption

We should prepare vegetables in whichever manner entices us to eat the greatest quantity.

October 10, 2008 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited


Image thanks to Garry Knight.


Other studies just out show this same phenomenon. Roasted almonds healthier than raw. The cholesterol-lowering effect of all sorts of good veggies improved by cooking. This new study found that long-term raw foodists had low blood levels of the phytonutrient lycopene compared to the general population, compared to the meat and iceberg lettuse eating general population. Lycopene is the wonderful cancer-fighting red pigment in tomatoes. Well, cooked tomatoes provide four times more lycopene than raw tomatoes.

And cancer prevention is just the beginning. Tomato juice can lower your bad cholesterol 13%. can successfully treat seasonal allergies… and even asthma. Treating asthma with tomato sauce.

But when you eat tomatoes raw you’re losing 75% down the drain.

Raw foods are not necessarily healthier. My recommendation is to prepare vegetables in whichever way will get you to eat the most of them.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

To help out on the site please email

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out "Raw Food Diet Myths." Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For more context, check out my associated blog post, Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out “Raw Food Diet Myths.” Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Girlwholovestheworld

    I thought roasting nuts killed the good “stuff” and created free radicals?

    • Toxins

       This is false unless you burn your nuts. Feel free to roast them!

      • Girlwholovestheworld

        And I should believe you because? Sorry I don’t know who you are or where your info came from. I have read both sides of the story and prefer my info to come from someone who knows about nutrition.

        • Toxins

          Sorry for my short response. Firstly, what are the “good” stuff? Do you speak of the antioxidants and other phytonutrients? Most of these remain stable when cooked and the absorption is enhanced. When you burn nuts this forms carcinogenic compounds which can be considered “free radicals”.

          I have been assigned by Dr. Greger to assist answering people’s nutritional questions. I hope my answer makes more sense to you now.

          • Girlwholovestheworld

            Thank you for your response, this is very intresting and if true why is it such a popular belief I wonder, so only if you burn them it creates free radicals. I was told above 150 degrees does it but how do you know? Is it the oils companies use that make it less healthy when you buy them roasted?

          • Toxins

            lightly roasting does not pose a health risk but one can easily burn these nuts to imitate frying at high temperatures.

            lowest recorded temperatures in the video above were 365 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Veganica

    Are roasted seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower) healthier than raw also?

    • Toxins

       Yes, all nuts and seeds have increased absorption when cooked.

      • Gauchomatero

        Some people soak them instead. What do you think is better?

        I like them raw but if it is healthier I would try to roast/soak.

      • whole plant eater

        what about roasting vs sprouting sunflower and almonds.

  • sharon

    I have read conflicting evidence regarding the value ( or not ) of almond skins: pro says flavonoids good; con says oxalic acid bad. Is there scientific evidence to further explain this? Thank you.

    • rachel

      Can someone please reply this issue?Toxins can you? this important question has not been answered for 10 months…!

  • Tobias Brown

    I’ve noticed at my local stores all the roasted nuts have added oil. Not sure but I guess it’s common to use oils in the roasting process.

    • DStack

      I also noticed this. So annoying… I just soak everything now. More nutritious anyway and easy to do.

  • lovestobevegan

    Peas Chick It Out

    -2 cups cooked* chick peas
    -9 white button mushrooms, quartered
    -1 red onion, chopped
    -1 small rutabaga, cubed
    -6-8 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
    -1 shallot, chopped
    -6 cloves garlic, minced

    Mince garlic and set aside. Cook tomatoes in a covered saucepan on high
    heat until tomatoes release water. Turn heat to medium and continue
    cooking while preparing remaining ingredients. Add all remaining ingredients, except garlic, and continue cooking on low-medium heat for as long as time allows (1-2 hours if possible). Stir in garlic 10 minutes before serving.

    *If using canned beans select those packaged in BPA-free cans such as
    Eden Organic brand. and with no salt added.

    ~complements of plant-based emporium