You’ve probably heard of the raw food diet and perhaps have been curious about it. Some people swear by it; others use it just occasionally as a detoxification program.
A raw food diet is not a "fad diet" but more of a lifestyle that encourages eating more real foods in their natural state. It's about eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked whole foods in order to get all the nutrients without dangerous additives.
The health benefits of eating raw have been well-documented and include:
- A strengthened immune system
- Enhanced clarity of thought
- Increased energy levels
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved digestion
- Detoxification/better liver functioning
- Stronger bones
- Healthier joints
An antioxidant-rich raw food diet also has a protective effect against heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
The value of raw foods (versus cooked and processed foods) lies in their abundance of micronutrients. Raw foods also reduce acidity in the body, promoting a healthy alkaline environment and bringing a higher abundance of health-promoting enzymes. They pack a nutritional potency that cleanses the cells and brings energy and vitality to the body, mind and spirit.
A raw food diet can also bring a range of benefits to your beauty regimen. Obviously, a healthy immune system is foundational to how you look and feel. However, a raw food diet can also bring you:
Healthy, Glowing Skin
The detoxifying effect of eating only raw foods clears up skin blemishes and brings out your skin’s natural beauty. Conversely, cooked meats and processed foods often contain chemicals that can affect skin health.
Eating a raw food diet will help you to drop those unwanted pounds and maintain a healthy weight more easily.
Strong, Shiny Hair
The dense nutritional concentration of a raw food diet also strengthens hair follicles and brings out a natural shine.
The vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants in raw vegetables enhance vision and eye health while bringing out a natural clarity and sparkle in your eyes.
Better Concentration and Mood
The cleansing effect of a raw food diet enhances focus and concentration. Eating an abundance of vegetables and fruits also supports better moods and a positive outlook, bringing out your natural healthy glow from the inside out.
Are you ready to get started with a raw food diet? The rules are simple. Stick to foods that haven’t been heated above 112 degrees F and also have not been processed. A raw food diet is naturally vegan, although some people do eat raw dairy or fish (sushi).
Your raw food diet should be loaded with fruits and vegetables. You can also add nuts and seeds for protein, raw whole grains and legumes for fiber, and cold pressed oils for healthy, unsaturated fat. While these foods are great on their own, raw foodists are known for using their creativity to combine them into entrees, soups, sauces, dips and other dishes. There are many raw food recipe ideas online that can enhance nutrition and enjoyment.
Some of the best foods to include in a raw food diet are:
- Citrus fruits
- Acai berries
- Raw almonds and walnuts
- Raw seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, etc.)
As when starting any new eating plan, check with your health care provider to determine if a raw food diet is right for you. Going raw may be something you just do from time to time for detoxification, or it might be a total lifestyle change. Either way, you’re sure to love its health and beauty benefits.