Raw Food Diet Benefits
By: Brandi Black, RHN
1 April, 2019 by
Raw Food Diet Benefits
Sun Chlorella USA

Today, raw food diets are more popular than ever. The numerous health benefits and personal testimonials of following a raw food diet can be found all over YouTube, Instagram and other popular social media channels. The success stories about following a raw food diet are enough to make you curious, to say the least.

If you're considering trying out a raw food diet yourself, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Do you have to swear off cooked foods forever? Does this mean you'll be eating boring fruits and vegetables every day for the rest of your life? What about coffee? What about chocolate?

Getting all the facts about going raw is the best place to start - and then you can decide if a raw food diet is right for you.

What is a Raw Food Diet? 

A raw food diet is primarily plant based, which means it doesn't include animal products such as meat, cheese and dairy. In some cases, raw meat or dairy products may be included, however, a raw food diet most commonly consists of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and sprouted grains
A food is considered raw if it hasn't been heated above 118 degrees F. This is because when a food is heated above 118 degrees, it begins to lose its enzymes- which is the main reason raw food is so incredible for our health and wellness.

Enzymes are found in all living foods, and work with antioxidant vitamins and minerals to help us digest the food we eat, convert sugar into energy, and clear toxic waste out of our digestive system that can lead to illness and disease. Enzymes are the catalyst nutrients that help most biochemical reactions in the body take place. Without enzymes, we wouldn't be here right now.

For this reason, the more enzymes we eat, the healthier we become. This is why many people who eat an enzyme rich raw food diet report having energy levels through the roof, very few doctor visits, a rock solid immune system and a clear, bright complexion.

But, like any way of eating- there isn't one style that fits everyone all of the time.A raw food diet is highly beneficial because it's so concentrated in nutrition- there's no arguing that. But there are several factors to take into consideration when trying a new way of eating to prevent shocking your body and experiencing discomfort.

Who Should Try a Raw Food Diet With Caution? 

First off, before trying any new diet, it's always best to speak with a licensed natural healthcare practitioner who's familiar with your entire health history, such as a nutritionist or dietician. From there, he or she can advise you on personalized dietary recommendations that will work best for your body.

As highly beneficial as a raw food diet is, there are also a few precautions to consider. Since raw vegetables are so fibrous, they require more digestive energy from the body to break down. Although raw foods contain digestive enzymes, your body may still have difficulty digesting the fiber and absorbing the crucial antioxidant vitamins and minerals in the fiber if your digestive system is already weakened. A weakened digestive system can result from various factors, such as long term antibiotic use, a diet high in refined sugar and stress.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, raw foods are considered to have "yin” or "cooling” properties. If you live in a colder climate, eating too many cooling foods may actually deplete your body of energy and leave you more prone to illness. It's also suggested that the cooling properties of raw foods can dampen the body's digestive flame and leave you more prone to digestive issues such as bloating.

Raw foods can also irritate hormones. A certain class of cruciferous vegetables contain a compound known as goitrogens, which can suppress the body's ability to produce thyroid hormones when eaten raw [1]. They are also very high in fiber, which can be difficult to digest. Goitrogenic vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and kale.

Lastly, a raw food diet can be high in natural sugars from fruit and natural sweeteners or natural health products such as raw honey or coconut nectar. There's nothing wrong with natural sugar. It provides the body with glucose for energy and when accompanied with fiber (as fruits and vegetables have plenty of), the release of sugar into the bloodstream is slow and steady.

But, there is a time and a place when a diet high in natural sugars should be avoided- even if it's from fruit, one of the world's healthiest foods. If you have a suspected overgrowth of bad bacteria in your system (which is often accompanied with symptoms such as brain fog, chronic fatigue, cravings for sugar, bloating, constipation and weight gain), or if you've been told by a healthcare practitioner that you have leaky gut, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or Candida (yeast overgrowth), sugar can do more harm than good.

Sugar, regardless of where it's from, feeds the bad bacteria in your system that contribute to these conditions. Sugar is the food that allows yeast and unfriendly bacteria to thrive in your digestive system and overpopulate the good bacteria.

In general, it is wise to be cautious when adopting a raw food diet if you:

- Have a weakened digestive system
- Have SIBO, Candida, leaky gut or suspected bacterial overgrowth in your digestive system
- Have a suppressed thyroid or hypothyroidism
- Are pregnant or nursing

Additionally, I always advise against quickly adopting a new style of eating without giving your body time to adjust first.

If you'd like to follow a raw food diet, I recommend starting by eating one raw meal each day for a few weeks, and working your way up from there. For example, instead of your eggs or oatmeal in the morning, try having a green smoothie packed with leafy greens, fruit, veggies and a plant based protein source such as chlorella powder or hemp hearts. You can also switch up your snacks and make homemade raw energy balls or munch on nuts and seeds throughout the day as an easy way to include more raw foods in your diet.

Who Can Benefit From a Raw Food Diet? 

Most people can benefit from eating more raw foods. The typical modern day diet is full of cooked and processed foods that contain very few enzymes, vitamins and minerals.

If you don't have any known health issues that may impair your body's ability to properly digest and absorb the nutrition from raw foods, then a raw food diet may be a great way to improve your overall health and wellness.

As you begin to incorporate more raw foods into your diet, it's important to pay attention to how you feel on a day to day basis- especially when it comes to your energy levels, mood, digestion and mental focus. Don't forget to also increase your water intake as you eat more raw foods to help the extra fiber from fruits and veggies move through your system efficiently.

Whether or not you decide to follow a raw food diet, incorporating one or two raw foods into your diet each day can still make a world of difference to your health. Here are 8 benefits of eating more raw foods.

1. All Natural Weight Loss

There are a few primary reasons why eating more raw food helps promote sustainable weight loss. On a raw food diet, you're eliminating many culprits in weight gain such as refined sugar (which is not the same as natural sugar), pastries and bread and pasta made from white flour. By removing these foods from your diet, you'll automatically be avoiding the exact foods that create a blood sugar rollercoaster and trigger fat storage (especially around your midsection).

Another reason you're likely to experience weight loss on a raw food diet is because of the detoxifying properties raw foods have. Since they're so high in fiber (a detoxifying nutrient), your body has the ability to receive plenty of internal cleansing. Fiber sweeps out the toxic sludge that hides in your digestive tract and contributes to weight gain. This mechanism leads to weight loss and often results in reduced bloating for a flatter tummy.

2. Reduced Cravings for Sugar and Caffeine 

The body is naturally supposed to receive energy from fruits and vegetables that contain glucose, not from heavily processed sugar or caffeine.

When you fuel your body properly in the morning with plant based foods, the desire for caffeine and sugar disappears. Fibrous fruits and veggies as well as healthy fats from raw foods such as hemp hearts, nuts, seeds and avocado also help to stabilize blood sugar levels which reduces cravings.

3. Increased Energy (That Lasts the Whole Day)

When was the last time you woke up feeling well rested (on a night you hadn't slept more than 7-8 hours) and had energy until the very moment you went to bed - without caffeine or refined sugar?

One of the biggest selling features of a raw food diet is the long lasting energy. Since your body is receiving plenty of enzymes, vitamins and minerals from raw food, it can produce energy quickly and efficiently, without leaving you in a mid-afternoon blood sugar slump.

4. Discover Hidden Food Sensitivities 

Dairy and wheat are two common, and often hidden food sensitivities for many people. It's not until removing the offenders that you realize the daily brain fog, low energy, constipation, irritability, skin breakouts and bloating aren't symptoms you have to live with for the rest of your life. You're just sensitive to a food you've been eating every day!

By eating more raw foods and eliminating common allergens from your diet naturally, you'll begin to discover which foods trigger a reaction in your body, and know how to avoid them to clear up your symptoms.

5. Improved Digestion 

At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned that enzymes are a catalyst to help initiate the digestive process. Raw foods are also very high in fiber, which helps move waste through your digestive system to be eliminated.

Healthy digestion is the foundation of our health, which is why it's important to address digestive symptoms quickly when they begin to show up. Raw foods can help support the overall digestive process, especially when blended into smoothies for easier digestion.

6. Build Up Your Immune System 

Many of the vitamins and minerals our immune system requires to stay healthy are found in the fiber of raw fruits and vegetables. When cooked, the fiber breaks down and some enzymes, vitamins and minerals are depleted.

By eating your food raw, the fiber stays in tact along with the other nutrients that help support the health of your immune system, such as vitamin C. Vitamin C is a critical antioxidant vitamin for the immune system that is depleted when exposed to high temperatures.

7. Clear, Glowing Skin 

An indicator of healthy insides is healthy outsides, aka: clear glowing skin.

When your digestive system is healthy, your skin will glow from the inside out. One sign of an overburdened liver or bad bacteria overgrowth can be dull, blemished skin. Raw foods provide your body with plenty of fiber to cleanse your digestive system from toxins, as well as antioxidants to help the liver do its many jobs more efficiently. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the healthier your liver is, the clearer and brighter your skin complexion will be.

8. Less Pollution for the Environment 

Body benefits aside, eating more local, in-season raw foods has a positive impact on the environment.

Eating raw food creates less of a demand for processed foods, which reduces the amount of waste from packaging, requires less energy to be used when transporting, and less carbon dioxide and other pollutants to be released into the atmosphere. Needless to say, eating more raw foods is a sustainable way to eat.

As you can see, there are many pros to including more raw foods into your diet. Rather than making a decision to follow a raw food diet or not, you can still make big strides towards improve your health by eating a raw food (or a few) each day.

Eating more raw foods can be a fun and exciting process- especially with mouth-watering recipes that taste so good, you won't even believe they're 100% raw, and good for you. To make it easy and tasty to incorporate more raw foods in your diet, we've released a brand new recipe book with over 25 delicious raw food chlorella recipes, including recipes for raw pad thai, orange curry, carpe caesar salad and chlorella lime pie.

Now you can receive the health benefits of chlorella in the form of delicious raw food dishes. Click here to learn more about Chlorella in the Kitchen Recipe Book.

About Brandi Black, RHN
Brandi Black is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from Vancouver, B.C. Experiencing her own health challenges at a young age led her to become passionate about educating on the healing properties of food, and how to achieve hormone balance, clear skin and sustainable weight loss naturally. In her spare time you'll find Brandi writing in her blog and hanging out with her teacup chihuahua, Coconut.

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[1] http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/vegetarianism-and-plant-foods/bearers-of-the-cross-crucifers-in-the-context-of-traditional-diets-and-modern-science/ 

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