From prehistoric times, our bodies have thrived on food that is fresh and natural. We were designed to take in nutrients from foods that are raw and use them optimally.
At its most basic, a raw foods diet means eating plant foods that are uncooked and unprocessed. Ideally, these will be foods grown organically and include nuts, grains, fresh juices, dried fruit, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables and purified water.
Why Are Raw Foods Important?
Very much like a vegetarian diet, a raw food diet relies on eating and drinking foods that are living. These foods are packed full of fibre which is lost when it is processed. Because these foods are raw, they are metabolized more easily and are usually lower in calories than the typical diet.
It is also important to note that once food is heated above 116F (46.7C) it loses many of the enzymes that help the body digest and absorb food. This means there will be less nutritional value in the food.
Important Benefits of Eating Raw Foods
According to nutritionists, there are many health benefits to a diet that is at least 75% raw food. These include:
- Better skin
- Weight loss
- More energy
- Improved digestion
In addition, there is a reduced risk for many serious illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Because a raw food diet is low in sodium, contains almost no saturated fats and is high in magnesium, folate, potassium and fiber; it’s very healthy.
If you’re considering a detox diet, raw foods are an excellent choice and they can be used for cleansing the colon, liver, kidneys and the skin.
What Foods Are We Talking About?
There are many foods that can be included in a raw food diet. These include, but is not limited to:
- Fresh fruits
- Coconut milk
Some of these foods have different primary benefits and your choice should be based on your needs.
For example, sprouted brown rice helps slow the absorption of glucose and will improve metabolism. You can eat cabbage to support the healthy functioning of cells while radish leaves and shitake mushrooms are good anti-oxidants. For improving your vision and cardiovascular system, carrots are always a great choice.
Sprouts are often called a superfood. These are foods that have such high levels of nutrients that they are considered an optimal nutritional supplement. Sprouts are great in soups and salads and they can be juiced.
Juices are a quick and easy way to get essential nutrients into your body.
If you are suffering from arthritis, fennel can control and reduce inflammation from the disease.
It is also great for lifting mood and treating depression, especially because it contains zinc, vitamin B complex and manganese.
The nutrition to be gained from seeds and grains is noteworthy. In particular, they contain vitamins A, B and E along with unsaturated fatty acids, lecithin and protein.
Of course, no diet is perfect for everyone’s body.
It is always good to ask a doctor before starting a specialized diet such as one that contains raw foods. This includes pregnant women, children, and pre-existing medical conditions. Even some natural foods might cause problems with medications so if you are taking any drugs, you should check with a doctor before starting this diet.
Also, keep in mind that a raw food diet is essentially a detoxification and some people might have a mild initial reaction that might include cravings, nausea and headaches.
One way to avoid this reaction is to cut back on sugar, caffeine and meat for a few days before beginning the diet.
So, if you haven’t been feeling quite right, or would like extra energy, a raw food diet is a great choice for you.