While the raw food diet – eating 75 to 100 percent raw, organic and unprocessed foods – is not for everyone, many people attest to its remarkable ability to cleanse and heal the body.
Numerous testimonials from those who have made the switch report dramatic improvements in overall health, including significant weight loss, balanced blood sugar levels, healthier skin, improved digestion, eyesight and mental clarity, as well as relief from chronic allergies.
A report published in Food Technology magazine in 2012 explains that plant-based diets can have significant results in reducing or eliminating the development of type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Some individuals even report a complete disappearance of their diabetes symptoms, with no further need for medications, once they switched to raw foods.
The science behind the raw food diet is simple. Some studies have shown that cooking foods at temperatures higher than 118 degrees Fahrenheit destroys certain nutrients and health-promoting enzymes found in foods, and chemically alters their structure to include free radicals, acid-forming toxins, acrylamides and carcinogens.
According to the research, raw foods also alkalize the body, and are able to expel the toxins from the cooked foods that are eaten occasionally by those who are not 100 percent raw.
As long as a 75 percent raw diet is maintained, the toxins created by the remaining percentage of cooked foods can be eliminated by the body. To put it simply, the raw food diet celebrates foods in their natural state.
While there are many amazing benefits to the raw food diet, it is not a universally-applicable solution; its effectiveness greatly depends on your individual body composition and state of health. Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic philosophies assert that cooking food supports our ‘digestive fire’ and brings warmth, vitality and movement to the digestive tract.
Chinese medicine specifically states that raw foods cool the body. Following this logic, someone who has an excess of systemic heat or inflammation would benefit greatly from raw foods. However, someone who has a colder systemic tendency may suffer from a lack of warm, cooked foods.
Additionally, some foods contain nutrients that become more available and easily absorbed when cooked. Examples are tomatoes (which contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant), kale, onions, spinach and garlic.
When it comes to a healthy diet, one size does not fit all. It is important to get in touch with your own body and discover your individual dietary needs. A nutritionist or naturopath can help you get started.
Remember that everything, including digestive health, requires balance, and it is important to choose the right balance of raw and cooked foods to fit your body’s needs to maintain optimal health.
-The Alternative Daily