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The Benefits and Challenges of Eating a 100% Raw Food Diet

There are definitely some advantages to going raw vegan, but ultimately the decision is up to each individual. Here is a brief outline of the benefits and disadvantages.

benefits_and_challenges_of_eating_a_100_percent_raw_food_diet_picBenefits of Raw

Keeping foods below high temperatures preserves enzymes from denaturing. These enzymes aid in digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Without these enzymes our bodies must work harder to get nutrition from food, putting strains on digestion that can lead to deficiencies, weight gain, and accelerated aging.

Those who eat raw foods also consume very little fat, resulting in healthy weight loss. A raw food diet also hydrates the body better than other diets and limits the risks of many types of cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes.

Cooking food eliminates many nutrients. Vitamin C, most B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin E, and many phytonutrients that act as antioxidants or combat disease are destroyed by heat. Heat isn’t the only factor though.

eating_a_raw_food_diet_imageContact with air and light results in further loss of vitamins. Eating raw food diminishes contact with these health diminishing factors as fresh food is eaten quickly without prolonged exposure to air and light.

Water and fat can also lead to loss of vitamins. Boiling and steaming leaches water soluble vitamins and the mineral potassium from food where it is lost when the water is drained away. Frying, sautéing, or stir frying pulls vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E out of foods to be lost in the discarded oil.

High heat also creates dangerous toxic compounds that damage cells, interfere with necessary body processes, and lead to disease. This doesn’t just apply to animal products. Even vegetables cooked at high temperatures or at low temperatures for an extended period of time produce toxic nerve-damaging compounds.

Challenges of Raw

We would say there are no disadvantages to raw, but here are a few concerns that many people have about starting a raw diet.

Variety is a worry with eating raw. Although it is extremely healthy to eat raw foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, care must be taken to eat a broad range of raw foods in order to meet all your nutrition needs and not become deficient in complex carbohydrates, fats, protein, or certain vitamins or minerals such as B12, calcium, and vitamin D. However, the same can be said for any diet.

benefits_and_challenges_or_raw_picEating high fiber foods can cause some digestive problems for those unaccustomed to them at first. Raw foods are usually fairly low calorie and filling which can lead to becoming underweight if you do not eat enough calories. This may sound fantastic for most of us to have to worry about being underweight, but being below a normal weight does have some serious impacts on health.

Sometimes cooking food can actually increase the availability of nutrients or improves digestion. Heat can denature enzymes that are designed to resist digestion, such as in beans and many seed. Though soaking seeds and nuts can also remove these enzymes and compounds without applying heat.

Cooking food can enhance color, flavor, and the aroma of food, but this is merely a preference of perception. Adding raw, plant-based food to your diet is definitely recommended for anyone wanting to lose weight, be healthier, and boost fitness, but it should be done with a plan. It’s a good idea to ease into eating more raw foods and gradually increase the quantity of raw foods you consume.

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