Eating raw food is healthy but, as with all things, this comes with a number of things to take into consideration.
If you are looking for a one size fits all “diet” this is not it, but raw food as part of a healthy whole foods diet can be a good option.
The raw food movement
RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
There are many people who have joined the raw foods movement and they believe that cooking foods destroys the enzymes we need to help digest our food.
However, I work primarily with patients with digestive issues and allergies, their digestion is already compromised and I advise them to avoid raw foods.
Cold, raw foods can cause and contribute to digestion problems due to indigestible fibres in the food, when these foods are cooked this makes the foods easier to digest.
Although raw plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet and can help reduce your risk of chronic diseases they can also cause or contribute to gas and bloating for some people.
As mentioned raw vegetables contain enzymes that help you digest your food but they also contain insoluble fibre that is difficult for humans to digest. Cooking breaks down these fibres as well as the process of fermentation which starts to pre-digest the fibres before you eat the vegetables.
Nuts, seeds and beans are high in protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals on the plus side, but on the negative side they contain fibre and phytic acid which can interfere with and inhibit the absorption of certain vital minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper.
Soaking your nuts, seeds and beans for at least 4 and up to 8 hours can neutralise the phytic acid and in turn this will improve the absorption of minerals.
Some raw foods can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites or may even contain harmful chemicals, this can cause food positioning which in turn can lead to overgrowth of harmful bacteria or parasites in the body and can lead to long term illness as it affects your gastrointestinal tract and can further affect your ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
I think the summer months are an ideal time to experiment with raw foods and sticking with the fruits and vegetables that are in season, they provide disease-fighting antioxidants and polyphenols which fight inflammation.
Light foods can really hit the spot on hot sunny days.
However, in the winter months if you live in a colder climate we are drawn to foods that warm us up and eating cold raw foods is not that appealing.
When using raw foods my advice would always be keep it simple and keep it fresh
Other options for eating raw vegetables are to ferment them. Fermenting converts sugars into cellular energy and a by product which produces digestive enzymes and healthy flora for your gut.
When your gut flora is healthy and balanced you will absorb nutrients in food more easily and adding fermented foods to your diet will allow for this.
Soaking and sprouting are also a great way to have raw foods, particularly nuts and seeds. A healthy gut makes for a healthy immune system and boosts emotional health so it is important to look after our digestion.
To answer the question, is it healthy or unhealthy to eat raw foods? Well, this depends on your current state of health. It is not that it is unhealthy per se to eat raw foods but if you have compromised digestion it may just cause you some additional problems with bloating and gas.
But once you have gone through a gut healing diet you will be able to add raw foods back into your diet and the easiest way to do this is to add them as snacks and then build up from there.
If you would like help with gut healing or would just love to know more about raw foods and how you can incorporate them into your diet I would love to hear from you.
Connect with me by clicking here and find out how I can help create a bespoke plan for you and get you started on your wellness journey straightaway.
Connect with Expert Kerry Madgwick.