Raw Vegetable Nutrients Are
Difficult to Absorb
Professor Hiroshi Maeda of Kumamoto University explained how he began his research.
“Vegetables are exposed to the sun’s rays and ultraviolet radiation throughout the day, yet their cells are not destroyed. Humans under the same conditions can develop skin cancer. I began wondering why vegetables do not get cancer. That question got me started in my research.”
The answer, he found, was simple. Plants contain their own oxidation inhibitors and defensive components (such as flavonoids) in their cells. In addition, plant cells are protected by a hard cell membrane covering. For humans to receive the benefits that vegetables offer, the protective cell covering must be broken down to make the beneficial components easier to absorb. That is the function of cooking.
“Take rice for example. Although high in nutritional value, very little of the nutrients would be digested and absorbed if we ate it raw; it would simply pass through our intestines and be eliminated from the body. Tea is another example. Tea contains catechins and other cancer-inhibiting compounds, but they will not be absorbed if tea leaves are simply eaten raw. Heating and steeping the tea in hot water softens the cell membranes, making it easier to absorb the beneficial components,” says Maeda.
If so, cooking should make the beneficial components of vegetables easier to absorb as well, right? Maeda conducted experiments with a wide variety of vegetables, and came up with wonderful results.
To be continued
(Translated by Roy Mashima)
(The information provided should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Consult your physician before attempting any new program. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of developing serious medical conditions.)