Advantages and disadvantages of a raw food diet

Nothing compares to the crunch of fresh carrots, the aroma of herbs, the sweetness of ripe fruits and the taste of cucumbers or peas picked straight from the garden.

For many of us, raw fruits and vegetables are a seasonal treat, due to the abundance of local products in the markets during the hot summer months. And in autumn and winter, we prefer hearty soups and steaming pots.

For others, raw food is ideal as a year-round lifestyle. Endorsed by celebrities such as designer Donna Karan, model Carol Alt, actors Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore, the raw food diet is gaining popularity and media attention.

Proponents of the raw food diet claim that eating a diet that is 75 percent or more raw significantly improves overall well-being and can prevent or eliminate a wide range of ailments. Critics say nutritional bigotry can lead to a host of physiological problems.

Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle?

As you might expect, a raw food diet is eating raw, plant-based foods that include fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, seaweed, and dried fruits. Raw foodists believe that heating food destroys the natural vitamins and enzymes that aid in digestion. Therefore, thermally processed food is absent from their diet, including refined sugar, flour, caffeine, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.

Raw foods provide the body with important vitamins and minerals, they contain beneficial live enzymes that help digest food naturally without depleting your physiological reserves. Live foods also contain healthy fibers that help regulate blood sugar levels.

Raw foodists use food preparation methods such as sprouting, juicing, soaking, chopping, and drying to make food digestible and palatable. In general, raw foodists aim for a diet that is at least 75 percent raw; hardcore enthusiasts prefer to use 100 percent fresh produce.

Benefits of a raw food diet

Many people who have tried a raw food diet report numerous health benefits, especially in the first few months or years.

This is weight loss, and the normalization of the menstrual cycle, and the activation of digestion, and the improvement of the condition of hair and skin, and the stabilization of the emotional background and mental health.

A raw food diet has many obvious health benefits. It has a beneficial effect on the body due to the low content of sodium in this diet and the high content of potassium, magnesium and fiber. A raw food diet helps you lose weight easily and also prevents the development of diseases such as diabetes and cancer, in particular colon cancer.

Eating raw plant foods helps the body cleanse itself. That’s why raw foodists feel so good. In particular, eating raw foods can help cleanse the digestive system of toxins that accumulate in the digestive tract when consuming flour, meat, and dairy products.

Studies show that a raw food diet is also good because it does not load the body with saturated fats and trans fats, which is very good for the heart. Studies have shown that a long-term raw food diet can lower cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.

Disadvantages of a raw food diet

Despite the numerous and obvious benefits, a raw food diet is not for everyone.

People with weak digestive systems who eat excessive amounts of sugar and processed foods may simply not have the digestive enzymes needed to extract the nutrients from raw foods.

Genetics and culture can play an important role. If you have lived your life on traditional Indian food, for example, your physiology has adapted to digest foods in a certain way.

But human digestive enzymes can gradually “learn” to tolerate raw foods – with a careful approach. The transition to a different way of life should be seen as a process, not as an instantaneous transformation. Beware of detox symptoms that eating raw foods can cause. Headaches, nausea, dizziness – all of these can be avoided if you detox slowly. In the long term, a raw food diet can lead to dubious consequences. 

The journal Nutrition, which touted the heart health benefits of a raw food diet, noted that study participants had increased levels of homocysteine ​​due to a lack of vitamin B 12 in their diet. bone mass, although apparently healthy bones.

Raw food critics also warn its proponents that they may be deficient in calories and nutrients such as calcium, iron, and protein. They point out that while it is true that some enzymes are destroyed when food is heated, the body is capable of producing a wide range of enzymes on its own. In addition, cooking food can actually make certain nutrients more digestible, such as the beta-carotene in carrots.

People with weak digestive systems may feel cold after eating raw food, especially during the winter. And, as it turns out, sometimes even the most zealous raw foodists can eventually overestimate the appeal of eating raw food. Some raw foodists may feel a decrease in metabolic rate and protein deficiency in a year or two. This can lead to an increase in appetite and overeating of raw fats and carbohydrates, some of the lost kilograms may return and other health complaints.

What to do?

A moderate approach to a raw food diet may be the answer. A small amount of cooked food, if the body asks for it, can be a good addition to the basic raw diet.

In a word, balance. It’s important to eat plenty of fresh, organic, mineral-rich, hydrating foods, but more importantly, be conscious about what you eat and what you crave without following the books.  


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