While the raw food diet isn't a new trend, it is still a very popular and controversial one due to the many benefits of eating raw foods. Many people testify that a renewed sense of zest, energy, and focus comes with eating a raw food diet, along with clarity, and weight loss. So what is the real deal on this popular diet that has so many people jumping the fence or declaring it to be a myth? No matter if your diet is exclusively raw or semi-raw, simply adding more raw foods to your diet can have wonderful effects on your overall health. Here are 8 benefits of eating raw foods and easy ways you can incorporate them into your day without going on a strict diet.
1. Less Sugar Cravings
Perhaps the biggest of the benefits of eating raw foods is taming your sweet tooth! Sugar cravings have been found to almost disappear when more raw fruits and vegetables are eaten, along with raw nuts and seeds. Nutrients in these foods are preserved better than when cooking, with the exception of tomatoes. Tomatoes provide more lycopene, an important antioxidant, when cooked, but most all other foods are higher in nutrients when eaten raw. The more nutrients the body receives from clean food, the less it will crave alternate sources of energy, such as sugar and caffeine, to nourish itself and renew energy levels. Try adding more raw veggies and fruits to smoothies, salads, as a side dish or even as a snack. Red bell peppers and carrots make wonderful snacks when you have a sweet tooth by providing crunch and loads of vitamins to nourish you.
2. Less Prep Time
You don’t have to spend a ton of food to eat raw food, because it is eaten just as it is. Sure, you may want to use it in a raw recipe like a salad, smoothie, or even a raw sauce or dip, but for the most part, raw fruits and vegetables take less time to prepare than cooked foods. They make excellent foods to eat on the go as snacks, part of your meals, or to keep at your office in case you get cravings.
3. They Are Usually Less Expensive
Most people argue that eating healthy is expensive, and while it can be, it doesn't have to be at all! Buy fruits and vegetables in season and from your farmer’s market if you can. Prices are extremely low when following these two rules. Fruits, vegetables and nuts and seeds cost less per serving than meat and dairy. You will even be surprised how many fruits and vegetables you can get for the cost per serving than buying them canned, which voids them of nutrition and exposes them to toxic metals. Save your money for fresh, real food.
4. They Leave Less of a Carbon Footprint
Fruits and vegetables that come straight from their source and are not cooked provide very low CO2 emissions, making them better for the environment Even if you aren't considered with the environment, remember that over time, these prices directly affect your wallet due to supply and demand services. Buying local and seasonal produce saves even more money because there is less transport time to get them in stores ready to sell. Consider the fact of how much work goes into preparing one single container of yogurt alone. Consider the work it takes to produce a single can of tomatoes, versus someone picking a tomato straight off the vine and sending it to the stores. Your wallet and your health will thank you by choosing raw foods which are naturally environmentally–friendly.
5. Reduced Toxin Exposure
Raw foods are not exposed to heat and high temperatures of cooking have been proven to cause a loss of vitamins and minerals in food, along with producing a toxin known as carcinogen that has been linked to cancer in various studies.
6. Raw Foods Are Naturally Delicious
Sure cooked foods can be tasty, but when you taste the crispy and juicy flesh of an apple or bite into a huge bowl of crunchy and semi–sweet raw romaine lettuce with a large, chopped tomato on top and a few chunks of buttery avocado on top, who needs any cooking involved? Raw foods aren't just delicious because they are fresh, but many foods eaten raw are naturally tastier because they haven’t been altered at all. Learning to love the taste of raw food is also an enjoyable experience. If it is hard at first, try sweeter fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, pears, mangoes, pineapples, strawberries, carrots, red bell peppers, and sweet lettuces like romaine, butter, and spinach greens.
7. Raw Foods Are High in Enzymes
Many people who eat a raw food diet testify that enzymes are higher in raw foods due to the fact that the natural enzymes in raw foods have not been altered through cooking, which makes them more digestible and friendly the the body. The body contains natural enzymes to digest food, and raw foods also contain different enzymes to help digestion. While some people argue that the body can efficiently use its own enzymes to digest food without the need from enzymes from food, raw foods are still more nutritious and higher in natural enzymes to enhance their nutrient uptake. Sprouted food is also very popular and high in enzymes and nutrients. Find ones you like and fun ways to incorporate them in your day.
8. Raw Foods Are Usually Guilt-Free
While you don’t want to sit down and eat a pound of raw cashews each day and call yourself healthy, there is no one that will argue most raw foods are full of water, fiber and nutrients, making them guilt free. Always keep denser sources of raw foods like nuts and seeds in moderation. Nuts and seeds in general should always be eaten raw so nutrients stay intact, but even when done so, portion size is still important. Enjoy the guilt-free choices that come from raw food in the produce section and try a different food each week. Foods to avoid eating raw are potatoes which are hard to digest for some, and beans which need to be sprouted or cooked.
Try adding more raw foods throughout your day, however you can. You will probably notice a greater satiety throughout the day along with less thirst, because raw foods are high in water and they prevent dehydration. You may lose a couple pounds, or you might not, but either way, you’ll learn to love nutritious, delicious food. There’s absolutely no one that will argue with that! What’s your favorite way to incorporate raw foods, and have you ever eaten a raw food diet? What was your experience?