This is a detailed review of the raw food diet. It explains what to eat, provides a sample menu and examines the science behind this diet. Tanya Maher gives her take on what a raw food diet is, and our nutritionist assesses whether it's actually as healthy as it Can sweet foods be eaten raw too?. The raw food diet includes uncooked and unprocessed whole plant-based, ideally organic foods. Uncooked foods should make up 75% of the.
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This applies to all of us, but some people who can especially benefit from eating more raw foods include those with:. Digestive enzymes are used by the body to break down foods to smaller and more operable nutritional units. Within the human body, the pancreas and other cells produce enzymes to help with digestion called endogenous enzymes while raw foods also supply some enzymes called exogenous enzymes.
Each food is a bit different in terms of when it starts to lose some of its nutrients. Another reason to eat more raw foods is because of how they easily make their way through our digestive systems. The longer a food sits in our digestive tracts, the likelier it is to ferment and cause problems.
Pre-fermented foods themselves are good for you more on that below , but a food fermenting in your gut causes gas, inflammation and toxic waste to accumulate. During fermentation in the gut, proteins putrefy and fats go rancid, which negatively affects the mucosal lining of the gut and can lead to intestinal permeability leaky gut syndrome. Diseases develop more easily within the body when acidity rises, because acidosis lowers immunity. The body can become overly acidic due to environmental pollutants, stress, processed and refined foods, lack of nutrients, and mineral-deficient water.
Cooked foods create even more acidity in the body, but on the other hand, raw foods neutralize acid and help alkalize the body. Some raw food diets include raw fish, raw dairy products, raw meats or eggs, and even some cooked animal foods too. What do vegans eat? On top of that, there are plenty of nutrients available in animal foods and benefits to including some of them in your diet. For example, organ meats, like chicken liver or kidneys, are often called superfoods and are some of the most nutrient-dense foods there are, extremely high in things like vitamin A, B vitamins, phosphorus and iron.
Some nutrients are simply more easily obtained when you include some animal foods in your diet. For example, if you compare the nutrient density of organ meats to that of vegetables like spinach or carrots, the organ meats outperform many of them.
Other animal foods make smart food choices too: Eggs are a great source of choline , fish are the single best way to get anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids , and beef is rich in things like zinc and selenium.
Here are some of my favorite raw foods to start eating regularly:. A staple of nearly every civilization on earth in one form or another, fermented foods are some of the healthiest things about eating a raw food diet. Fermented foods are raw and naturally develop probiotics during the period when they undergo fermentation, which happens when oxygen converts some of their nutrients.
Fermented foods have been eaten for thousands of years in the form of yogurt, kefir, sourdough breads, kombucha, and cultured vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi and kvass. Why might an all raw food diet not be the best option? In other words, cooking does degrade some nutrients, but it also makes others more digestible.
Cooking foods with antioxidants called beta-carotene and lycopene like squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes, for example helps release their nutrients and make them more absorbable, plus it makes them taste a lot better too!
And some studies have also shown that peppers and mushrooms become more nutrient-dense when cooked. Keep this in mind: Others eat raw meat and raw animal products. This article is part of a series called What are the eight most popular diets today?
Olives are bitter if eaten raw. However, a raw foodist can eat olives if they are raw and sun-cured. Salt preserves most olives, and olives in cans are often cooked.
Different people have different interpretations of the raw food diet and what it means. Some people will eat some cooked food, while others eat none. For some people, it is a way of life. For others, it is simply a dietary choice.
The only heating that is allowed is with a dehydrator. This blows hot air through the food. The temperature is never above Fahrenheit, or 46 degrees Celsius. Raw foodists also may also blend and chop up their foods.
Chocolate chip cookies can be made by grinding cashews and oats in a blender to make a dough, mixing coconut oil , carob, and cocoa powder to make chocolate chips, and then combining the mixtures and freezing for 30 minutes.
Other ingredients that can be used to make cookies include nut butters, coconut flakes, and dates. Raw foodists claim that consuming mainly uncooked foods can lead to weight loss. They also believe that with a raw food diet, the body is better able to prevent and fight diseases, especially chronic diseases.
Some nutrients, for example, water-soluble vitamins B and C, are reduced or destroyed by cooking, so eating food raw ensures a better supply of these. This, they say, is because raw and living foods contain essential food enzymes. Heating the food to above degrees Fahrenheit, or 47 degrees Celsius, destroys these food enzymes.
Raw foodists maintain that enzymes are the life force of a food. Nature has given each food its unique perfect mix.
These vital enzymes allow us to fully digest our foods without having to rely on our own digestive enzymes. Raw food dieters argue that the cooking process destroys or alters these enzymes, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
Only raw food, they say, is "live" food. Cooked foods, they say, take longer to digest, and they clog up the digestive system and arteries with partially digested fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Studies have indicated that a plant-based diet but not necessarily raw can lead to weight loss and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer , obesity , and type 2 diabetes.
Nutritionists and dietitians suggest that raw food dieters should consume the following foods with caution:. If juiced or eaten in large amounts they can be toxic for people with fair skin. This can trigger photosensitivity and other skin problems. Raw kidney beans and kidney bean sprouts may be toxic. This is known as lathyrism.
Many furanocoumarins are toxic. Cooking eggs kills the bacteria. Raw milk may contain Mycobacteria bovis M. Some vegetables may be more beneficial when cooked. Cooking tomatoes, for example, makes the antioxidant lycopene available to the consumer's body, according to researchers from Cornell University. However, cooking also destroyed vitamin C. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people on the raw food diet may experience clearer skin, more energy, sustained weight loss, and a reduction in cholesterol and lipid levels in blood tests.
A raw-food vegan is at risk of not getting enough of some nutrients, including protein, vitamin B12 , iron, calcium , fatty acids, and vitamin D. One study found that raw food vegetarians may have lower bone mass, although their bones appeared to be otherwise healthy.
Another found that a raw food diet can reduce overall cholesterol and triglycerides, but that it may lower the levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol, and that it may raise levels of homocysteine, or tHcy, because of a lack of vitamin B Most dietitians would agree, however, that an increased intake of fruits and vegetables and a reduction in processed food would benefit most people.
Article last updated by Yvette Brazier on Wed 26 April All references are available in the References tab. Evaluation of dietary habits in the study of pancreatic cancer. Klinicka Onkologie 29 3, Low bone mass in subjects on a long-term raw vegetarian diet.
Archives of Internal Medicine. Italian chefs knew it all along: Cooking plump red tomatoes boosts disease-fighting, nutritional power, Cornell researchers say.
Long-term consumption of a raw food diet Is associated with favorable serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides but also with elevated plasma homocysteine and low serum HDL cholesterol in humans [Abstract]. Journal of Nutrition 10, Is it raw or not?
The raw food diet: Should I try it?
The Promise. Your oven gets a rest on this diet. You'll mostly be eating raw fruits, vegetables, and grains. The idea is that heating food destroys. A raw food vegan diet consists of unprocessed raw vegan foods that have not been heated above F (46 C). Adherents of this diet, called. Despite what you might have heard, a raw food diet is not another “fad diet” as we normally think of one. In fact, some experts on raw diets say.