The raw food diet consists of an eating plan in which people choose to eat mostly uncooked foods. 75% of the diet should consist of organic, plant-based foods like fruits, nuts and vegetables. Some foods can be cooked, but should be prepared at a low temperature of 116 Fahrenheit (47 degrees C).
This may sound like quite a strict diet, but it’s increasing in popularity thanks to a growing awareness of the impact of processed and fast foods on our overall health. Sprouting and Fermenting are good ways to introduce more raw foods into your diet but does the raw food diet present any particular health benefits? We investigate!
With the number of overweight and obese people hitting record levels and a type 2 diabetes epidemic in the Western world raising awareness and concerns regarding the health risks of being overweight, increasing numbers of people are turning to the raw food diet to achieve weight loss. Raw foods are low in calories and rich in nutrients and enable you to lose weight and maintain the weight loss without being hungry and exhausted.
Proponents of the raw food diet say that raw foods are more nutritious and that they have a higher vitamin and mineral content. This is supported by scientific research. Fresh foods also contain plant-based enzymes that can aid our digestion and reduce inflammation. Better digestion and a higher nutrient content implies that you really do get more nutrition out of raw foods.
Prevent infectious diseases
In theory, good nutrition should boost the immune system. In practice, increasing the vitamin intake of test subjects caused them to demonstrate an improved immune response. Obviously you can still get ill, but the chances of succumbing to infection are significantly reduced. Various plant-based chemicals have natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral capabilities. Since cooking our food breaks down these phytonutrients, raw foods are more likely to give you the full benefit of these disease fighting chemicals.
Certain foods can help to reduce or prevent inflammation – any kind of physical condition that involves swelling. This is largely due to the positive effect of phytonutrients on our immune systems. Inflammation results in a whole range of possible illnesses ranging from hay fever to rheumatoid arthritis.
Prevent and treat cancer
Natural killer (NK) cells in our bodies are our primary defense against cancerous tumors. Studies showed that phytonutrients (nutrients from plants) didn’t affect the number of NK cells, but did enhance their activity. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the raw food diet also reduce your chances of developing cancer. In addition, many people are turning to raw food diets to help them beat cancer once it has been diagnosed.
Reduced chance of heart disease
Apart from reducing your chances of developing cardiovascular problems by regulating your weight, a raw food diet can prevent platelet aggregation (the formation of blood clots) once again reducing your risk of a heart attack. In addition, the diet helps to improve the balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol, thereby protecting us from cardiovascular disease. This means that you are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure as a result of blocked arteries.
Lowered intake of toxins and detox effects
Because the raw food diet requires organic eating, your family is not at risk of consuming food that is contaminated with pesticide residues. These carcinogenic residues have an insidious effect on our health and many of them have cumulative effects over time.
In addition, the focus on fruit and vegetables helps you to get a healthy intake of natural antioxidants that improve your body’s metabolism of the toxins they produce as a by-product of cellular activity (free radicals).
The effect is an additional safeguard against cancer and other toxin-related illnesses. As an added bonus, your skin’s appearance will improve, partly because of the reduction in toxins and partly because of the overall improvement in your physical health.
Having more energy is an automatic response to improved nutrition. Because our bodies are getting more of the nutrients they need, they’re able to function better. You may not be able to see these internal functions working better, but you will feel the improvement in your energy levels.
Sufficient fiber means better digestion
Diverticulitis, a complaint caused by the development of little pouches that restrict the movement of feces through the large intestine is on the rise. That’s because most modern diets are way too low in fiber, but the raw food diet ensures that your body gets plenty of fiber and safeguards your digestive health.
It’s good for the environment
Last but not least, the raw food diet is also environmentally friendly. Eating fresh, organic produce makes us more likely to source locally grown foods with a smaller carbon footprint. Because we eat organic foods, the production process doesn’t involve the use of dangerous chemicals and because we don’t cook food as much, we use less energy to prepare our meals.