Is eating raw food healthy ?

Depending on your preference and the type of raw diet you choose, you can use blenders, food processors, and dehydrators to prepare food.  In certain raw food diets, heating of food is allowed as long as the heat doesn’t exceed 118 degrees. 

People who choose to eat raw food usually fall into three broad diets. These include; 

Raw vegan diet: only focuses on plant-based foods excluding all animal products. 

A raw vegetarian diet that includes plant-based foods, raw eggs, and unprocessed dairy products. 

The raw omnivorous diet focuses on plant-based foods, raw animal products, and raw or dried meat. 

Whereas some people eat some cooked foods; there are those that eat only raw. It is either a lifestyle or a dietary choice. 

Those that mix raw and cooked food eat certain raw foods especially in salads. 

What foods can you eat raw?

  • Raw or dried fruits. 
  • Raw or dried vegetables. 
  • Freshly made fruit or vegetable juice. 
  • Nuts and seeds. 
  • Seaweed. 
  • Nut milk. 

Other people add on. 

  • Raw eggs 
  • Raw or dried meats. 
  • Raw sea fish. 

Health benefits of raw foods.  

 Whether you choose to eat raw food or raw food mixed with cooked food, there are a lot of health benefits associated with eating raw foods. They are;

1.  Raw foods are high in nutrients.

People who choose the raw diet eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, seaweed, and legumes that are known to be healthy compared to processed foodsOpens in a new tab.. Eating these types of foods gives the body nutrients, vitamins, healthy fats, and minerals needed by the body.  

When some foods are cooked, they lose some nutrients especially water-soluble nutrients such as vitamin B and C. Therefore, when you eat these foods that lose water-soluble nutrients raw, you get all those nutrients that would have been lost while cooking. 

When some foods are cooked, they tend to lose natural enzymesOpens in a new tab. as the heat destroys them. Therefore, if these foods are eaten raw, you get a better supply of these enzymes and natural vitamins cooking would have destroyed. 

2. Fewer processed foods equal healthy eating.

Foods that are eaten raw go through no processing which would have added salt, sugars, and saturated fats to them. Processed foods are linked to many health risks such as inflammationOpens in a new tab., obesity, heart disease, and others.  

Therefore, when you choose raw foods, you eliminate processed foods from your diet that would have led to many health risks. 

3. Raw foods are weight loss friendly.

Raw foods are usually raw in calories which makes them great for calorie restrictions. In order to lose weightOpens in a new tab., one should be in a calorie deficit which simply means consuming fewer calories than he/she burns. Since raw foods are low in calories one can easily get into a calorie deficit without starving himself. 

On the other hand, the processing of food adds calories to food through added salts, sugars, and saturated fats. Therefore, eating raw foods will give you fewer calories than those got from cooked or processed foods. Cooked foods gain more calories due to the additives like cooking oilOpens in a new tab., salts, fatsOpens in a new tab., and others that are meant to make food taste much better. 

Additionally, raw foods are high in fiber. Fiber plays a major role in weight loss as it helps one keep satisfaction for longer thus fewer food cravings that would have made one eat and gain more calories. 

Read also: The best spices for weight lossOpens in a new tab.

4. Reduced risks of diseases.

Since raw foods don’t contain added sugars and fats there are fewer risks of getting diseases associated with sugars and fat. People on a raw food diet also tend to have improved heart healthOpens in a new tab. since the consumption of fruits and vegetables provides the essential nutrients needed for heart health. 

There are also fewer risks of inflammation associated with the consumption of raw foods. 

5. Good for diet restrictions.

People who follow vegetarian and gluten-freeOpens in a new tab. diets can eat raw foods without cheating the diet. 

Raw foods can be included in many other diets such as the Mediterranean, the no sugar diet, plant-based, the raw food diet, and others 

Other benefits of eating raw food.

  • Raw foods are easy to prepare since they don’t require special preparation or recipes as cooked foods do. With just mere washing and cutting, raw foods can be ready for eating. 
  • Eating raw food can help save money that would have been spent on cooking resources such as gas, electricity, oven, and related items. Money also saved from buying food additives such as cooking oil. 
  • Raw foods are also said to have fewer digestion issues associated with them. People who eat raw foods are less likely to experience heartburn, indigestion (raw foods are high in fiber), and constipationOpens in a new tab.. 

Foods that are healthier raw. 

  • Broccoli 
  • Cabbage. 
  • Onions. 
  • Garlic. 

 Read in details: The health benefits of garlicOpens in a new tab.

What are the health risks of eating raw food?

Food poisoning. 

Some foods contain toxic Opens in a new tab.chemicals and when eaten raw, they can cause food poisoning. food poisoning is more common in uncooked animal products such as raw meat, raw eggs, raw seafood, raw milk, and other foods made from it. 

Even from fruits and vegetables when they are eaten raw, they may carry bacteria that cooking would have killed. It is therefore recommended to wash fruits and vegetables before they are eaten. 

Many foods such as kidney beans, cassava, eggs, seafood, milk, and others can cause stomach complications, serious infections and introduce deadly bacteria in your body that make you generally unhealthy. 

It is for this reason that raw foods are not recommended for pregnant mothers, seniors, young children, and people with weak immunity. 

Nutrition deficiency. 

Nutrient deficiency can also happen when you choose the raw food diet. Since the diet restricts the use of supplements, nutritional deficiencies of nutrients such as vitamin B-12, omega-3 fatty acidsOpens in a new tab., and other essential nutrients most especially those got from animal products. 

Difficult to stick to 

Although raw food looks easier to prepare, it is not easy to cope with especially in places such as restaurants, schools, hospitals, or at work. Since people are used to eating cooked food, you will have a hard time finding your specific food. 

Should I try cooked food?

Everybody can witness that cooked food tastes better than raw. Besides the taste, let’s look at how cooked food can be better. 

  • Cooking kills many bacteria, harmful compounds, and toxins making food much safer. You are less likely of getting food poisoning with cooked food. 
  • Cooked food is easier to chew and digest. Unlike raw food that is hard, cooked food can be eaten by all age groups and people with digesting problems. 
  • Whereas some people are trying to lose weight, those that need to gain weight are better off eating cooked food. Since weight loss is a complex process of which food alone can’t determine, you shouldn’t choose raw foods because of their calories. There are also cooked foods with low calories. 
  • While some sources claim raw food retains enzymes and vitamins, cooking on the other hand can help release essential nutrients such as lycopeneOpens in a new tab. and beta caroteneOpens in a new tab. from vegetables. 
  • You are more likely to get all the essential nutrients you need from eating cooked food than raw food. With cooked food, you have a variety of food you can choose from despite raw food that is limited to certain foods. 

Foods that are healthier cooked. 

  • Asparagus 
  • mushrooms 
  • spinach 
  • tomatoes 
  • Legumes 
  • Carrots 
  • Potatoes 
  • Legumes 

The bottom line. 

Either you choose to eat entirely raw foods or mix cooked foods with raw, you will get the health benefits associated. You shouldn’t however, rush to choose the raw food diet because of its low calories as you may not be able to cope up with it.

Raw foods can easier be eaten along with cooked foods. They can be eaten as salads over a meal or in form of smoothies.

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