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Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

Guest Writer Donna Haybarger,

There are many forms of “diets” to combat weight gain, fight disease, or just be healthier. One of these is the Raw Food Diet, and it involves eating live, unprocessed, whole plant-based, usually organic foods. Those who live this way are confident that there are many benefits to adopting this plan.

Advocates of the Raw Food Diet believe that the healthiest meals are uncooked. Most are in agreement that food may be heated as long as it does not exceed 118 degrees Fahrenheit. There are a variety of variations of this diet, but a “Raw Foodist” eats 75 to 100 percent uncooked foods.

Those following this plan claim that enzymes are one of the most important aspects of this diet, as they are vital for digestion and absorption of nutrients. They believe heating deactivates the enzymes present in food. Therefore, the body is forced to work harder to digest cooked meals, often leading to digestive problems. In contrast, raw foods are quickly moved through the system, and they are confident this is why there are so many other benefits to the diet.

Some of the most popular foods on this plan include fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, dried fruits, grains, and legumes. Purified water, seaweeds, seeds, and nuts are also allowed. Some people eat eggs, fish, and some meats in their meals but not everyone adds these. Finally, other variations of the diet include non-pasteurized, non-homogenized milk and dairy products. However it seems most raw foodist eat strictly plant based live foods.

Raw food proponents claim one of the most obvious benefits to this diet is weight loss and long-term weight stability. Because the bulk of the food is fruits and vegetables, these high water content foods are full of fiber, and they move quickly through the body. This fiber helps combat hunger and provides a sense of satisfaction. Most of these foods are also low in calories, and this promotes long-term weight loss.

Many who prescribe to this plan of eating claim it also increases the beauty and clarity of skin and hair and it acts as an anti-aging agent. Because processed foods often are high in fat and sodium, they can increase puffiness of the skin and dull the hair. The combination of increased nutrients and vitamins make the skin clearer. Dieters also notice hair becomes shinier and healthier. Many are asked what skin and hair care they use to get that radiant glow. The answer is simply their diet. Most who eat this way feel that they look years younger and they would never go back to another way of living. They truly believe they have found the best anti-aging formula.

Another benefit of eating uncooked foods is the increased energy people feel when they follow this plan. Many attribute the extra vitality to digestion and a well-functioning digestive system. When people eat cooked, highly processed foods, digesting these foods robs their body of the energy they need to stay more active. So when you stop consuming a diet of mostly processed foods and start implementing a raw food diet you will have more energy and less stress on your body. If it takes less energy to digest your foods then you have more energy to use in your daily life. Simply put, “if you don’t use it, you have more of it.” Most supporters of the diet notice they have a significant boost of energy after eating this way for even a short period of time.

The nutrients, anti-oxidants, and vitamins that dieters get from these foods also ward off a wide variety of diseases and increase immunity. Because meals are higher in potassium, magnesium, folic acid, fiber, vitamin A, and a myriad of other nutrients, heart disease and cancer risks decrease. The insignificant amount of sugar and sodium also contribute to less diabetes and lowered blood pressure. The anti-oxidants protect against Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration. Rheumatic disorders like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis seem to respond well to the diet, and people notice they have less pain after just months of use, while others say their discomfort diminishes completely. A raw food diet plays a major role in healing people with many debilitating diseases.

Many people believe the adage, “You are what you eat,” and raw food supporters agree with this wholeheartedly. They are confident that cooking deactivates the enzymes and diminishes the nutrients in foods. Those that espouse this diet claim to lose weight for good, feel and look younger, have more energy and increase their immunity to disease and sickness. Raw Food Dieters are confident that this way of living promotes the healthiest, happiest life.

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets.