The Benefits of Raw Foods
Forget all the fad diets—if you want optimal health, opt for real food. And if you want to reap maximum benefits from that real food, make sure some of it is raw.
What is Raw Food?
Raw food is exactly what it sounds like—food that hasn’t been cooked. It’s food in its purest form—fresh from Mother Nature. Think fresh, crispy vegetables; juicy, tender fruits; nuts; and seeds.
Cooking can change the fundamental structure of some foods—and even destroy enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that are essential to our health. People who adhere to a strict raw foods diet refrain from heating any food above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature at which the enzymes are destroyed.
But you don’t have to follow a strict raw foods diet to reap the health benefits of raw foods. In fact, many experts recommend eating a healthy mix of cooked and uncooked food in order to get maximum nutritional benefit. Some nutrients in foods like tomatoes are actually made more absorbable after being cooked.
Benefits of More Raw
Raw foods are loaded with nutrition. If you incorporate more raw food into your diet, you’ll reap the benefits:
- Fiber: Vegetables, fruits, and seeds are high in fiber, which can promote cardiovascular and digestive health, as well as weight loss.
- Better Digestion: The fiber and enzymes in raw foods assist in the digestive process. Too much rich, heavy, cooked food can slow digestion, whereas raw food can help speed the process. What’s more, the body can better assimilate the nutrients from raw food.
- Weight Loss: Raw foods are high in fiber and low in calories, which can help promote weight loss and detoxification. What’s more, because they’re nutrient dense, many raw foods will help you feel more satisfied and less likely to overeat.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Some nutrients, such as folate and vitamin C, are destroyed by heat. Eating raw foods can be a way to ensure you’re consuming a healthy balance of a variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Hydration: Raw foods have a high water content, which can help you stay hydrated.
- Energy: Because they are high in essential nutrients, raw foods can help energize you—in stark contrast to the lows you might feel after eating processed food.
Choose More Raw
If you want optimal health, it pays to eat a nutrient-dense diet. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Strike a balance and work raw foods into every meal. One great way to increase your consumption of raw foods is to make the salad the main attraction at every meal.
Need more ideas for incorporating raw foods into your diet? Join Lauri Bunting for a raw foods class and learn about the merits and alkalizing effects of sprouted, raw, and plant-based foods.
Thursday September 12, 1:00-2:00 p.m.