Do you know what it means to “eat raw”? This diet trend goes beyond simply munching and crunching on carrot sticks at snack time or having a salad for lunch.
The raw food diet is more of a movement; it is an entire lifestyle that many people embrace in an effort to eat clean.
Studies have shown that we should avoid processed foods and focus more on lean meats, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Is the raw food diet really that good for us, or is it just another fad that does not do anything to boost our health?
In order to really consider the raw food diet, you need to understand what the whole thing involves. The idea behind it is that raw foods are chock full of natural enzymes and nutrients that are killed off by heating them higher than 116°F. In most cases, raw food dieters follow a plant-based menu, but there are some that incorporate raw, unpasteurised cheese and milk as well as raw fish and even raw meat.
Science has shown that there are certainly some benefits of the raw food diet. When you put more emphasis on more fruits and vegetables, you are inevitably getting a lot more nutrients. Additionally, you will be avoiding processed foods, which is also a great thing because they are hard to digest and have been associated with a number of illnesses and obesity.
However, despite these obvious benefits, health experts do recommend that you carefully consider the raw food diet before making any changes. Here are some things you should know before making the switch.
You’ll be risking malnutrition.
This is particularly true for vitamins B12, D, iron, selenium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Because you will not be eating a lot of meat, you may not get enough protein, either.
Some food is actually more nutritious when it is cooked.
This may come as a surprise, but cooking tomatoes actually makes them better for you. When you cook them, you’re boosting the availability of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. The same goes for carrots and other root vegetables such as potatoes.
You might experience digestive issues.
Eating all raw foods could potentially wreak havoc on your digestive system. While it is true that you need to get plenty of fibre in your diet, too much of it can cause a host of issues.
You risk food-borne illness.
When you adopt the raw food diet, you have to be extra vigilant with food hygiene. Cooking is the best defence against food-borne illnesses such as salmonella and E-coli poisoning. This means you must absolutely wash all foods properly. A raw food diet is not recommended for pregnant women, children, or those with a weakened immune system.
If you are considering a raw food diet, make sure you speak with a dietician or doctor before making the change.