Some experts believe that a diet consisting mainly in uncooked and unprocessed food consumption may result in a fitter body, a beautiful skin and a higher level of energy. It also could decrease the risk of many diseases.
2. Raw food diet
The principle underlying this diet is eating foods in their natural shape (uncooked and unprocessed) – the healthiest for your body shape.
Raw food diet is a lifestyle, not a weight loss plan. Following such a diet is not easy. Most of the diet specific foods are chopped, mixed, hulled and dried in the kitchen.
This happens because the diet assumes 75% consumption of fruit and vegetable. The types of specific foods for this diet include:
- Germinated seeds
- Whole grains
- Dried fruit
Avoid all alcohol, refined sugars and caffeine.
3. Methods of preparation
People who follow this type of diet do not cook food in the classic oven, but use a dehydration device that dries foods.
Germination and sprouting. Beans, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors that are normally destroyed after cooking.
These enzymes can be stored and assimilated after consumption by food germinating and sprouting. Germinated and sprouted foods can be kept after sprouting in a jar which will close tightly, in the refrigerator for up to five days and consumed anytime.
Dehydration. Food will be cooked to a temperature under 45 degrees Celsius. For this purpose will use a machine called “drier”, which reuses the warm air for drying food.
Mixing. Food will be blended or chopped using a food processor or blender to make smoothies, pesto, soup or hummus.
Other methods of preparation:
4. Raw versus cooked
There is insufficient information in the medical literature related to raw food diet. Research focuses on vegetarianism and veganism and on the health benefits of a diet based on fruits and vegetables, which help lower cholesterol and keeps low the blood glucose levels.
Some studies have concluded that by cooking at high temperatures several important nutrients in food are destroyed. Experts stress the importance of consumption of raw cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli) that can reduce the risk of bladder cancer.
By cooking these vegetables at high temperature they are deprived of substances that destroy proteins in cancer cells. It is sufficient that these foods be eaten for a month for this risk to be reduced.
Another study examined the findings of about 50 medical research that contained debates about eating raw versus cooked. It was demonstrated that raw foods help reduce the chances of oral cancers, pharynx, larynx, esophagus and stomach cancer.
5. How healthy is the raw food diet?
The verdict on health obtained from consumption of raw foods is not clear. Researchers who studied the impact of raw food diets found that participants had low levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
They had, however, a deficiency of vitamin B12. Finding is consistent with other research, as vitamin B12 is found naturally only in products of natural origin. Vitamin B12 is important for nerve function and red blood cells. Deficiency can lead to anemia and neurological disorders.
Other experts noted in people who have followed this diet a healthy level of vitamin A and carotenoids derived from the consumption of vegetables, fruits and nuts. It was also noted resistance to chronic diseases.
However, they found lower levels of plasma lycopene compared to those who were not follow this diet. Plasma lycopene plays an important role in preventing disease. Low bone mass in the spine and hip may be another risk for those who follow the raw food diet, because these people tend to be slim.
Another study showed that raw food diet can cause menstrual disruption due to drastic weight loss. Fruit and vegetable proteins are less digestible, so it is advisable to add soy and beans to your diet.
Experts recommend that people who follow the raw food diet and vegans to increase calcium intake, as their diet contains foods rich in sulfur (nuts and grains, for example) that can cause calcium loss from bones.
Zinc is best absorbed by the body from meat. Nutritionists recommend the introduction in this diet of sprouted seeds and sprouted vegetables to compensate for this lack, and for the body to absorb more nutrients from food. Also, those who do not eat meat or dairy products should be vigilant about their intake of vitamin D – especially those living in northern areas. Low levels of vitamin D can cause bone weakening.
An alternative would be the fortified foods (soy milk, rice, cereals, margarine) or use supplements with vitamin D. By peeling some healthy fiber may be removed, while by dehydration, chopping and exposure to hot air some nutritive valuable elements of fruits and vegetables may be destroyed.
Those who follow the raw food diet do not eat fish, so they cannot supply the body with enough omega-3 essential fatty acids. As a measure of protection, experts recommend the use of dietary supplements. Also, this type of diet is forbidden for children and infants.