Eating raw foods is natural. Our bodies thrive on all that is fresh and vital. A raw food diet is bound to bring a feeling of increased well-being. Raw food diets are based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods which are preferably organic. These foods are a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Other foods are nuts, seeds and grains as well as dried fruits. Purified water and fresh juices are also included in the list.
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Why Raw Foods?
It is basically a vegetarian diet. The raw food diet promotes eating and drinking “living” foods. Living foods and juices contain the maximum amount of fibre found in raw produce. Fibre can be lost in processing. Such foods are easily metabolised. They tend to be lower in calories than the average diet.
Heating food above 116°c destroys enzymes in food which aid in digestion and absorption. As a result, it diminishes its nutritional value.
Benefits of a Raw Food Diet
A diet of at least 75% raw food offers numerous health benefits. Increased energy levels and better digestion are some of these benefits. It improves skin appearance and help weight loss. It reduces risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.
A raw food diet contains little or no saturated fats. It is low in sodium. It is high in potassium, magnesium and folate as well as fibre.
Raw food diets are also excellent detox diets. Different combinations of living foods can be used for colon cleansing and liver cleansing. It can be used for kidney cleansing and skin cleansing too.
The Basics of a Raw Food Diet
Any fresh fruits and vegetables can be menu items of a raw food diet. Grains, seeds, beans and nuts are other alternatives. You can consume legumes and young coconut milk. Your choice of foods may depend on your reasons for dieting. For example:
- Sprouted brown rice slows glucose absorption. It improves the metabolism.
- Cabbage supports healthy cellular function. Radish leaves act as an antioxidant, as does shiitake mushroom.
- Carrots are a great source of vitamin A. They encourages healthy vision and a healthy cardiovascular system as well.
You can use a sprouter to sprout seeds, grains and beans. Sprouts could be called a ’super food’. Organic sprouts contain enormous levels of proteins, vitamins and minerals. They contain chlorophyll pigments and enzymes. They are the ideal natural supplement. Sprouts can be used in salads and soups. They can be juiced. Fresh juices are a great energy supply. You can prepare living juices that are full of essential nutrients.
A great juicing recipe to complement a raw food diet is carrot juice with potato, fennel and apple. Simply juice 4 medium carrots, 2 apples, 1 small potato and 1 small stalk of fennel. Fennel has been shown to reduce and control inflammation of arthritis. It evens mood fluctuation and depressive states. It has the rare nutrient called manganese, plus zinc and vitamin B complex.
The nutritional value of grains and seeds is impressive. They contain most of the vitamins particularly A, B, and E. They are also fantastic natural sources of unsaturated fatty acids and lecithin. They are an excellent source of proteins.
You can even use soy milk makers to make non-dairy drinks from different beans, rice and nuts to have with breakfast. If you want something a little more substantial than soy milk you can make your tofu. (or, of course you can visit a good health food shop)
Essentially, the idea of a raw food diet is to eat unprocessed foods for at least 75% of the time. The idea of raw food may not very appetising to you. You can warm the food a little as long as it isn’t heated above 116°c.
Because a raw food diet is detoxifying some people suffer a mild detox reaction including mild headaches, nausea and cravings. These symptoms may last for several days. And you will get more enjoyment out of your raw food diet if you cut down meat, sugar and caffeine a week before commencing the diet.
Last But Not Least
A raw food diet is certainly a good way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Like anything worthwhile it takes time, energy and commitment. There is some preparation time involved. Because many of the foods for this diet are made from scratch. There are many great products on the market that can help you prepare your own living food and save you some time.
Combined with regular exercise, a raw food diet is also an excellent weight loss method. If you have been feeling a little off, or just need some extra energy, a raw food diet is certainly a good way to go.
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