Eating raw food is a trend that has been sweeping the nation by storm. Raw foodists or those who advocate a diet of raw food extol the many benefits it offers to the body. Raw foodism, more than being simply a form of dieting, has become a way of life that advocates the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed, natural and organic foods as a major part of the diet.
For the raw foodists, ingesting food in its most natural state retains the enzymes and other nutrients needed by the human body. Instead of cooking, food is prepared either through juicing, blending, sprouting, soaking or dehydrating. This way, food is “unfired” and maintains its natural “life force” which gives the body renewed vigor and energy.
Like any other lifestyle, belief system or diet regimen, raw foodism has its share of benefits and risks. This article aims to give you both sides of the coin so that you will be guided accordingly, should you decide to try out the raw food lifestyle.
Benefits of Raw Foodism:
1. Consumption of at least 75% raw food or one heated below 115 degrees Fahrenheit is said to enhance vitality and vigor. Proponents say that it increases overall health and gives more energy.
2. The low-sodium, high-potassium, magnesium, fiber and phytochemical content reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
3. Proponents of raw foodism believe that the digestive enzymes as well as good bacteria benefit the gastrointestinal tract. This leads to improved digestion.
4. Studies have shown that a raw vegan diet lowers hypertension and obesity. It has also been associated with lowered symptoms of fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Raw foodists believe that the high level of antioxidants present in unprocessed, natural and organic food delay aging.
Risks of Raw Foodism:
1. Those against raw foodism cite the nutritional deficiencies that occur with such a diet. Calcium, calories, iron, zinc, protein, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D are just some of the nutrients that are not completely met with a raw food diet. It is not also recommended for children, pregnant and lactating mothers as well as those with osteoporosis and anemia. It is also not a recommended diet for those living in colder regions of the world.
2. Food poisoning is a reality that those who ingest raw food must face. For example, buckwheat greens can cause photosensitivity and dermatologic complaints when taken raw. Raw meat can also contain bacteria and other toxins that are harmful to the body.
3. Studies have shown that a raw food diet causes elevated levels of plasma homocysteine and low serum HDL cholesterol.
4. A raw vegetarian diet is also associated with low bone density. Studies on women on a raw food diet revealed them to be underweight. They also experienced amenorrhea.
5. Those who do not adhere to the raw food diet believe that the human digestive system is more naturally adapted to digest cooked food because of evolution. The smaller digestive tract, shrunken stomachs and longer small intestines are proof that our bodies are now designed for consumption of cooked rather than raw foods. BOLA TANGKAS