Many people cringe at the thought of raw food. But what they don’t know is that raw food can sometimes be a lot healthier than cooked foods.
How is raw food prepared?
Grain and bean seeds are soaked and sprouted before these are eaten. Nuts can be soaked. Some fruits are dried and others are juiced into smoothies. Vegetables can also be juiced into smoothies.
Types of raw foods
Before you start eating all food uncooked, here is a list of foods that you CAN eat raw:
- Beans, grains and legumes
- Coconut milk
- Nut milk
- Wheatgrass or algae
- Organic, natural or unprocessed foods
- Fermented foods
- Non-pasteurised and non-homogenised milk and dairy products
The benefits of eating raw foods
During the cooking process, heat destroys or reduces essential food enzymes that help with bodily functions, for example water-soluble vitamins B and C.
Eating foods raw ensures that you get the most out of the food’s vitamins and minerals. This, in turn, helps your body fight against diseases and illnesses.
These natural enzymes also help the body to digest the food without using its own digestive enzymes.
Other benefits include:
- More energy
- Clearer skin
- Weight loss
- Lower risk of chronic diseases
- Increased heart health
- Reduces risk of diabetes
- Improved cognitive thinking
Take caution when eating these raw
Some foods are better eaten cooked. This is because cooking the foods removes any toxic elements that the food might have. When eating foods raw, be careful about how you eat the following foods:
- Buckwheat: Contains fagopyrin which can trigger photosensitivity and other skin problems.
- Kidney beans: Contains phytohemagglutinin which is toxic.
- Alfalfa sprouts: Contains the toxin canavanine.
- Lathyrus pea seeds (grass pea, Khesari dhal or almost): can cause neurological weakness of the lower limbs, known as lathyrism.
- Apricot kernels: Contains amygdalin, which contains cyanide.
- Parsnips: Contains furanocoumarin, which is a defence mechanism against predators.
- Raw eggs: Salmonella bacteria can be present in some eggs. This can cause serious illness or death.
- Meat: Some meats can pass on harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses.
- Milk: Raw milk may contain mycobacteria bovis which can cause non-pulmonary tuberculosis.
Although there are no studies that prove or disprove theories around the benefits and risks of eating raw foods, there are many people who swear by it. Most of the benefits of eating raw food make sense because of a more natural intake of fruits and vegetables. Raw food diets also get rid of the bad chemicals that are pumped into foods to make them last longer. If you want to try out a raw food diet, consult your dietician about what you can and cannot eat raw and the best way to prepare these foods.
If you want to discover more about nutrition, you should really consider doing a nutrition course. Follow this link to find out about the nutrition courses that we offer.