Raw foods are unprocessed foods that have not been cooked to a high temperature. Some health experts suggest that eating raw foods can create a healthier diet, as the nutrients in the foods are intact when eaten. There are many benefits of raw food, including better total nutrition and a diet higher in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Some people eat solely raw products because of their firm belief in the benefits of raw food.
Research done on the benefits of raw food has been some what varied in results. Studies have shown a diet high in raw foods to be linked to lower levels of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and a healthy cholesterol intake. Inversely, diets high in processed and cooked foods have been associated with increased cancer risks, and a severe depletion in the vitamins and minerals naturally present in raw foods. Cooking grains has also been shown to reduce digestible protein levels, thereby lowering nutritional value.
Though research has not been conclusive, many proponent of raw food diets claim there are additional benefits of raw food that people on the diet experience. Some report a decrease in acne or a more even skin tone after switching to a raw food diet. Proponents also suggest that raw food helps even out the digestion and fight off inflammation of chronic digestive problems. Some studies have shown that patients suffering from fibromyalgia noticed a considerable remission from symptoms when on a raw food diet.
Some of the benefits of raw food are not from the food itself, but rather from the exclusion of processed food. Many people on raw food diets attribute significant weight loss to the elimination of refined sugar and unhealthy cooking techniques such as deep frying. By avoiding meat products, raw food eaters can often avoid the hormones and additives often found in meat that can raise risks for certain medical conditions. Additionally, since the main portion of a raw food diet is based on plants, saturated fat and cholesterol intake are generally dramatically less in a raw food plan.
There is still some debate on the veracity of the touted benefits of raw food. Some doctors suggest that people see improved skin or digestion not because the food is raw, but because the food is healthy by nature. It is also important to note that certain vitamins may be difficult to get on a raw food diet, such as iron and vitamin B12. Taking a multivitamin supplement while on a raw food plan can help maintain the benefits of a raw food diet while still ensuring adequate intake of vitamins.