Leftover is easy to identify. It looks dull, dry, rough, hard, gross, and cloudy as compared to the freshly prepared food. The bad news is that people across the world are getting used to eating from the plastic boxes or cooking and refrigerating food and eating it for days. The number is increasing day after day and so are health issues. Don’t we already know frozen or pre-cooked food boxes are not good for health? Then why don’t we find time and ways to cook and eat fresh to stay young, healthy and fit! Ditto with leftover food! People are getting used to cooking and storing and eating and serving the same days together. It should be avoided as much as possible; even more so in homes that has growing kids as cellular intelligence of leftovers is low.
When you store or stock food; cooked or raw for long period, both its medicinal and nutritional value depletes. Every food has medicinal value and it evaporates extremely quickly (the essential oils and breakdown of other unique phytochemicals); the nutritional value, on the other hand evaporates comparatively slowly. Cooked food loses nutrition & taste faster than raw food. Foods as in fruits and veggies when chopped and kept aside for cooking later are better than their cooked and refrigerated versions.
As raw, plucked and chopped the food is considered living and is dense in nutrients. Once cooked, food begins to lose value; because when cooked, its cells decompose and with that decomposes nutrients and phytochemicals. When food comes in contact of heat, atmospheric gases, oxygen, light, pollution etc. it speeds up the process of losing nutritional value in food. When you cook food and store it in the fridge for several days, what you will get after a few days when you are ready to eat it is may be very little nutrition. Over and above, when you reheat food, it causes further nutritional destruction and breakdown; vitamin C and all the B vitamins are very heat sensitive.
From Ayurveda perspective such food turns Tamsic, i.e. to say it develops properties which are not good for health. At cellular level the food you store collects air & gas, which in the long run causes bloating and toxicity. Consuming leftovers creates disturbances in digestive system as such food is not only hard to digest but also sticks to and thickens the walls of digestive track. Eating leftover food as a routine causes disorders related to vata Dosha in the long run. It causes toxicity including of Kidney.
Food when left overnight or longer not only loses life force in each cell but also the taste, whether the food you’ve stocked is sweet, sour, tangy or any other.
In short leftovers lose taste, have fewer nutrients, difficult to digest, and some may even be toxic. The next time you feel like cooking and storing food, think again!