I wanted to write about The Raw Food diet in more detail as part of my Diet and Nutrition blogs.
The Raw Food diet is based on uncooked, unprocessed, mostly organic foods. The staples in this diet are raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains. Some people also eat unpasteurised dairy foods, raw eggs, meat and fish.
The basic idea is that heating food destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes, which is bad, as those nutrients and enzymes boost digestion and fight chronic disease. Fans of The Raw Food Diet claim that the diet can cure complaints such as headaches and allergies, boost immunity and memory, and improve arthritis and diabetes.
This diet takes a lot of effort to prepare. Eating out can be difficult, and if we go organic, it’s more expensive than our usual weekly food shop. Because some uncooked and unpasteurised foods are linked to food-borne illness, we’ll need to wash our food thoroughly and be extra careful with foods such as sprouts, raspberries, unpasteurised juices, green onions, and lettuce.
The advantages of The Raw Food Diet are that eating lots of fruit and vegetables can help control blood pressure. The diet is low in sodium, and high in fibre so it may help lower our risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis; stomach cancer and kidney disease.
The Raw Food Diet also offers nutritional benefits. Most of what we eat is high in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, fibre and disease-fighting nutrients, which can sometimes be lost in cooking. The diet also acts as a detox.
Due to the risk of food poisoning, a raw foods diet isn’t recommended for pregnant women, young children, the elderly, people with weak immune systems and those with chronic medical conditions like kidney disease. As most people who eat raw foods exclude animal products, which would otherwise be in our diet; in common with many vegetarians, we may need to take vitamin supplements to bridge the gaps from The Raw Food Diet.
We’ll certainly lose weight on this diet, since most of its foods are low in calories, fat, and sodium, and high in fibre, but there are major drawbacks. The most significant of which is the diet is extremely limited in its nutrient intake. The diet is very difficult to follow and inadequate in many essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and more.
Contrary to some claims, cooking does not make food toxic; but makes some foods digestible, such as pulses. Cooking also boosts some nutrients, like beta-carotene and lycopene and kills some bacteria that can otherwise cause digestive upset.
If anyone is considering The Raw Food Diet, talk to your doctor before starting the plan. Unfortunately, The Raw food diet is very challenging, nutritionally inadequate and therefore becomes inappropriate for us to stay on it long-term.
Although some of the advantages to the Raw Food Diet include lowering inflammation; improving heart health; improving digestion; helping with optimum liver function and giving us more energy; I would still suggest incorporating The Raw Food Diet into a diet that includes cooked foods; particularly if our body is still learning the ropes.
As with any diet, it’s important not to to be too rigid when it comes to experimenting with raw foods. It’s important to listen to the body when incorporating plant-based foods into a routine.