The Benefits and Risks of a Raw Food Diet
We have all been warned some time or another about consuming raw foods. In fact, you might think that a raw food diet sounds crazy. This diet is actually very safe and beneficial. Not only does it improve heart health, but it can also reduce the risk of diabetes. There are, of course, foods to watch out for. Even so, this diet is worth your consideration if you are looking to live a healthier lifestyle.
What Is a Raw Food Diet?
There are four types of raw food diets. Raw vegetarians consume plant-based foods, including eggs and dairy products. Raw vegans consume no animal-based products at all. Raw omnivores eat plant and animal-based foods. Finally, raw carnivores eat uncooked meat. While raw vegetarians and vegans are well known, raw carnivores and omnivores may be new to you. A person who is a raw carnivore does not just consume raw meat, however. They may also consume:
- Dried fruits
- Raw nut butter(s)
- Fresh fruits and raw vegetables
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Fermented foods
- Green food powder
- Purified water
- Coconut milk
You might think that consuming raw products is unhealthy, but those who follow a raw diet typically moderate what they eat to ensure they receive enough vitamins and minerals. They often prepare meals with a dehydrator or blender. There are, however, some foods that should be avoided.
Risks of a Raw Food Diet
While eating raw food has many benefits, there are some foods to look out for. Kidney beans contain a chemical called phytohaemagglutinin, making raw kidney beans toxic. Raw eggs can also be dangerous due to the salmonella bacteria. Salmonella can cause severe illness and even death.
It is also important that you are getting the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. You can do this by paying close attention to your diet or by taking supplements. Vitamin B12 is one nutrient raw food dieters need to worry about. Prolonged deficiency could cause numbness, heart disease, anemia, poor bone health, or infertility. By taking a B12 supplement, you are avoiding these dangers and still able to eat raw foods.
Benefits of a Raw Food Diet
This diet is not only a great way to lose weight but works in the long term to keep it off. This diet is can also help lower blood pressure and reduced risk of strokes and heart disease. By eating nuts and seeds, you are also improving your blood cholesterol levels, further reducing your chances of heart disease.
Vegan raw food diets, in particular, lessen your risk of developing high blood pressure by 75%. Vegetarian and vegan raw food diets lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 12%. Additionally, the amount of fiber in a raw food diet will aid in digestion by helping food move more quickly through your stomach.
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