Is a Raw Food Diet Right For You?

The goal of eating raw foods is to obtain plenty of nutrients in an easy to digest manner. There is no need to go completely raw (Dr. Axe, 2017) making sure to consume some raw fruits every day is important to everyone.

Sometimes eating cooked foods are harder to digest than raw foods, plus some nutrients are loss when cooking (Dr. Axe, 2017). Raw foods help to alkalize the body and reduce acidity.

Five clinical conditions that can use raw foods include:

Thyroid Health

High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Diarrhea

Heart Disease

Obesity

Thryoid Health

– A raw diet is contraindicated for thyroid health conditions. Many vegetables in the cruciferous family such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens and brussel sprouts contain goitrogens.  For individuals with thyroid issues, goitrogens may block thyroid function and can eventually lead to goiter and hypothyroidism. Goitrogens can worsen the ability of the thyroid to produce important hormones. Goitrogens can be deactivated by heat. So, cooking vegetables can deactivate a good amount of goitrogens.

High blood pressure and high cholesterol

Raw food diet is warranted with people who have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Raw foods high in fiber offer many benefits which include lowering the blood cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease, improving blood glucose control, reducing risk of cancers and improving gastrointestinal functions. Americans eat about half of the recommended daily dietary fiber. Adding more raw foods to your diet can easily increase fiber intake.

Diarrhea

A raw food diet might be warranted for an individual with fiber. Adding raw foods to the diet can easily add fiber to the body and alleviate diarrheal stools.

Heart disease.

A raw food diet is warranted with people with heart disease. - Foods high in unhealthy fats have a direct negative effect on the heart and can lead to heart disease and eventual failure. A diet that includes living raw foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains and beans significantly reduces the risk of heart disorders. Studies conducted on the relation between consumption of raw fruits and vegetables and the incidence of heart disorders concluded that an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables significantly reduced this risk. It’s also noted that the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (HDL) decreased while the ‘good’ cholesterol (LDL) increased. This control of cholesterol prevents the occurrence of various heart disorders associated with high cholesterol levels.

Obesity

Raw food can be warranted with individuals who are obese.  Some studies have concluded that a raw foods diet significantly reduces the body weight and the body mass index (BMI) scores. One study conducted on African American women noted that there was a significant reduction in weight and BMI scores when these women were on a raw food diet for 3 months. Another study conducted for about 7 months duration reported that the subjects involved in the study lost up to 3.8 kilos while on a raw diet.

Obstacles for employing a raw food diet

One benefit of this diet is that your oven and stove gets a rest. While that is true your foods can be cold or even a bit warm depending on what you eating.  An individual also have to also be careful with they eat on this diet. To overcome this the use of blenders, food processors etc. can be used to prepare foods.

Level of effort is high on this diet. Need high level of kitchen skill. Eating out can be tricky. Preparing foods can be extensive and learning new kitchen tools may be necessary. Some uncooked foods are linked to food borne illnesses which might be a challenge. So washing foods carefully will be necessary. Preparing foods at home might be preferable on this diet since most restaurants cook their meals.

Due to the risk of food poisoning, a raw foods diet isn't recommended for pregnant women, young children, seniors, people with weak immune systems, and those with chronic medical conditions like kidney disease.

Cost

This diet can be somewhat expensive as organic ingredients tend to be more expensive. But it will be worth it if your health is a priority. Kitchen appliances like juicers, blenders, and dehydrators are another expense. The cost of organic foods might not be able to be curbed but the individuals can check with local farmers to get a cheaper rate in organic produce. Shop around for prices of juicers and blenders or these can be borrowed from family.

The diet is difficult to follow as some foods might be inadequate in many essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.  A nutritionist might be able to assist in counting the calories and incorporating and combining vitamins in the raw foods to meet the body’s nutrient needs.

 

References

Web MD (2017). Raw food diet. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/raw-foods-diet

Dr. Axe (2-17) raw food diet. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/raw-food-diet/

Koebnick C, Garcia AL, Dagnelie PC, et al. Long-term consumption of a raw food diet is associated with favorable serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides but also with elevated plasma homocysteine and low serum HDL cholesterol in humans. J Nutr. 2005 Oct;135(10):2372-8.

Garcia AL, Koebnick C, Dagnelie PC, et al. Long-term strict raw food diet is associated with favourable plasma beta-carotene and low plasma lycopene concentrations in Germans. Br J Nutr. 2008 Jun;99(6):1293-300. Epub 2007 Nov 21

Mind body green (2017) Raw foods retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13454/3-reasons-no-one-should-be-on-a-raw-foods-diet.html

Weerts SE, Amoran A. Pass the Fruits and Vegetables! A Community-University-Industry Partnership Promotes Weight Loss in African American Women. Health Promot Pract. 2009 Apr 3.

Douglass JM, Rasgon IM, Fleiss PM, et al. Effects of a Raw Food Diet on Hypertension and Obesity. Primary Articles. Southern Medical Journal. 1985; 78(7):841-844.