Naturally fresh raw foods that are plant-based are healthier and more nutritious than cooked foods rich in meat, plant dishes, and commercialized food items, considering if the raw food to be eaten is clean and free from physical, biological, chemical, and radiological hazards. Raw food eaters said that foods heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit loses a lot of nutrients and phytochemicals that fights diseases and inflammation in the body. Naturally fresh raw foods are high in some nutrients and will supply the daily needs of our body if we will mix it with lesser quantity and mass of cooked foods in a plate. 75% of the plate should allot space for naturally fresh raw foods and 25% less should be focused on cooked foods seen on an individual’s plate. According to Tiffani Bachus R.D.N. and Erin Macdonald R.D.N., co-founders of “U Rock Girl!”, a website designed to nourish the mind, body and spirit of women of all ages and stages of life, “There are no hard rules about what percentage of the diet must be raw, but usually at least 75% of the diet consists of raw foods and no animal products are enough”.
Let’s go fresh and eat natural but how?
A raw diet is composed of plant-based food items, fresh and organic, and can cut down the calorie content of each meal as it is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and beans. In the article of Randall Stafford, MD, PHD, and a professor of medicine at Stanford University, he quoted that “Raw is the ultimate unprocessed food diet that our body will be burning calories while doing the work of extracting nutrients from foods. Avocado, olive oil, seaweed and sun-dried fruits are included as well, the reason why this diet is a rich source of healthy fats and fiber. It is much lower in saturated fats found in high fatty foods such as pork and beef. It is also low in trans fat from packed and processed food items such as powdered flour, white sugar, butter and margarine.
Raw food diet plan
Raw food diet plan is high in fiber since most of the food items that is included on the plate is from fruits and vegetables. According to American Heart Association, a normal individual should consume at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber coming from natural foods, not supplements, every day. The raw food diet has higher amount of fiber than the normal range a person should eat. There are some nutrients that is present in raw foods and is not available in a cooked food. An example of this is the Sulforaphane, it is a powerful cancer-fighting phytochemical found in Broccoli, and if it undergoes cooking, the level of sulforaphane decreases. Another example is the Allicin, a phytochemical found in onion and garlic with natural antibiotic properties is available when eaten raw but is also reduced significantly through cooking. Flavonoids which is found in raw cacao beans, nibs and powders, when eaten raw, is anti-inflammatory and fights several diseases in the body and it may disappear when these foods are exposed to high heat.
There are also downside in eating raw foods since it lacks protein and does not include foods rich in B-Vitamins, Fat-Soluble Vitamins, and some minerals such as Iron and Iodine, this may lead to immune deficiency and could affect our bones, blood, and some body organs that needs these minerals to function very well. It also exposes an individual at risk since most of the foods are uncooked and may contain harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses that are destroyed through heat exposure and cooking.
There are also certain substances that are formed highly available through cooking such as Lycopene in Tomatoes that helps lower bad cholesterol level in the body and Carotenoids from leafy greens, colorful foods, and squash that increases function of immune system in the body and contributes to healthy eyesight. Raw foods can also expose an individual to goitrogens that lowers the availability of iodine and may cause Iodine deficiency disorder such as Goiter most especially to women.
Raw foods are not recommended for pregnant woman, people with immune disorders, young individuals that needs immediate health attention, and older people that are prone to metabolic disorders. This kind of diet is not recommended for a long term use, according to the study of Randall Stafford, a professor from Stanford University, he concluded “A healthy short-term diet that is difficult to follow long-term because of the limited food choices and the limited amounts of protein and some important nutrients”. According to a study back in year 1999 conducted by a team of Professors, Koebnick C, Strassner C, Hoffmann I, Leitzmann C., from Institute of Nutritional Science Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Germany, 216 men and 297 women consuming raw foods for almost 3 years and 7 months, with different intensities showed greater loss in weight but is not recommended for a long term use. The study concluded that “The consumption of a raw food diet associated with a high loss of body weight. Since many raw food dieters exhibited underweight and amenorrhea, a very strict raw food diet cannot be recommended on a long-term basis”.
Be alive and healthy!
Raw food diet brings out health benefits and hazard at the same time. People should know how to balance their meals in including raw and cooked foods. It is just a matter of timing; people should still know when to eat cooked foods and when to include raw foods. Anthelme Brillat- Savarin, the writer of Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, says “You are what you eat”. Clean and safe foods are much better than drinking medicines to treat and cure food-borne diseases and metabolic disorders such as Heart Problem and Stroke. Whether foods in a form of raw or cooked, still, it will always have good and bad effect to our body, depending on how we eat it or how many are we going to eat? Our body will always react on the food items that we will eat and drink, and the way we will manage our diet.
Sources and References:
1. Raw Food Diet by Breast Cancer Organization; Date: May 08, 2013.
2. Consequences of a Long-Term Raw Food Diet on Body Weight and Menstruation: Results of a Questionnaire Survey. By Koebnick C. Strassner C. Hoffmann I. and Leitzmann C. from Institute of Nutritional Science Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Germany. Year 1999.