Summer is here, the secret sauce recipes are out of the vault, and the neighbors think your house is on fire -- it's barbecue time! Oh, it tastes so good, but it's so bad for us.
Here's the bottom line: Man was not intended to eat cooked foods. The hotter we cook food, the more nutrients are lost, and the more carcinogenic chemicals are produced. Grilling and blackening food literally converts some of the food to carcinogens, creating a real cancer-causing nightmare.
If we go back to nature and see what is natural - cooking is not natural. Homo sapiens are the only creatures that cook their food. How this foolish practice began no one knows, but the act of cooking produces fundamental changes in the food. Cooked food is chemically different from raw food. And, like all the other creatures on earth, raw food is what we were designed to eat.
Since not all of the essential nutrients necessary for good health have been discovered, and since cooking destroys nutrients, we really have no idea of the damage being done to our nutrition when we cook food. But, animal experiments and human experience show that eating 100% cooked food results in disease and death, guaranteed. Furthermore, if we examine clusters of historically healthy people around the globe, we see that the diets of the traditionally long-lived populations are about 80% raw. Raw food is essential to life!
Eating a diet high in cooked foods is not a good idea, but an even more ominous problem occurs when we heat foods to high temperatures, such as with barbecuing. Recent large-scale studies have concluded that people who eat diets rich in meats cooked at high temperatures have a substantially higher risk of cancer. A 1998 study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute found that women who regularly consumed blackened meat had a five times greater risk of breast cancer.
When food is heated to temperatures exceeding 375 degrees Fahrenheit, which includes frying, grilling, and barbecuing, compounds called heterocyclic aromatic amines or HAAs are formed. HAAs are among the most powerful carcinogens ever discovered, and minute amounts of them can cause major damage to DNA. The higher the temperature and the longer the cooking time, the more HAAs are formed, so (for example) medium-rare is healthier than well done.
Even toasting bread can be dangerous. Experiments at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory showed that toasting a slice of pumpernickel for the second time can increase the HAAs by five times, giving it 20% of the mutagenic activity of a well-done hamburger. People who have toast every day for breakfast should certainly reconsider the practice.
What to do? First of all, put more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, and reduce the amount of cooked food. If you must cook, then poach or steam. The temperature of steam, while still hot enough to damage nutrition, is not hot enough to produce the cancer-causing HAAs that are created at higher temperatures. If you must barbecue, then open a couple of capsules of Unique E and mix it well with your ground meat before cooking.
Research has shown that this inhibits the reaction that forms the HAAs. Definitely do not eat food that has been charred or burned. If you do eat cooked food, it is best to eat raw food first. For example, when eating out, it is best to have a fresh salad before eating the cooked entree. Eating the raw food seems to give a measure of protection against the bad effects of the cooked food. The main reason for this is that raw foods have active enzymes still intact that both help to process the raw foods being eaten, and also the cooked foods to come. (Which contain little or no active enzymes.)
The health of the American people has entered a long-term decline, and immune dysfunction disease has become the biggest epidemic in history. One of the major reasons this is happening is because we have fundamentally changed our diets. Eating high amounts of cooked and processed foods is one of our biggest changes, and one of our biggest causes of disease. Eat more raw foods, for the sake of good nutrition, and definitely stay away from those carcinogenic charred foods. Don't order "blackened" anything. Your body will thank you with the gift of good health.Raymond Francis is an M.I.T.-trained scientist, a registered nutrition consultant, author of
Never Be Sick Again, host of the Beyond Health Show and an internationally recognized leader in the emerging field of optimal health maintenance.Reprinted with permission from: Beyond Health® News http://www.beyondhealth.com