With chronic illness, obesity, allergies and food intolerances, digestive complaints and diabetes all on the increase any simple measures that can be taken to assist good health are noteworthy. One simple measure is increasing the amount of raw foods in the diet.
Benefits of Raw Foods
(1)Enzymes – all foods eaten must be broken down into small enough particles for use by the body. The body produces chemicals called digestive enzymes that work on foods to achieve this but it costs the body energy and nutrients to make digestive enzymes. Raw unprocessed foods contain natural enzymes and are therefore broken down and digested easily in the body requiring little or no additional digestive enzymes. Cooked foods which will contain little or no enzymes, place a strain on the body especially in excess. If the body fails to make all the digestive enzymes required to break down the cooked foods a number of problems can occur. Digestive problems will occur as the foods sit for longer in the body causing digestive imbalance and symptoms such as bloating, wind and pain. Undigested foodstuffs can enter the bloodstream leading the body to set up immune response to foods leading to food allergies and intolerances and the immune system can become compromised leading to a susceptibility to colds, viruses, infection and more serious conditions.
(2)Nutrition - The heat of cooking not only destroys the natural enzymes but also depletes vitamins and can damage proteins and fats. Minerals can also lose their organic form in cooked foods and become unusable by the body. In this state they can combine with saturated fats and cholesterol in the circulatory system thus clogging it up.
(3)Additives – Raw foods have more flavour than cooked foods so the need for unhealthy additives such as sugar, salt and sauces is reduced.
(4)Free Radicals- cooking foods can create free radicals which can be a contributory factor in illness, degeneration and ageing. Raw foods contain high amounts of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients that can reverse the effects of free radicals.
(5)Weight Control- raw foods are essentially non-fattening, satisfying and filling. Being nutrient dense and fibrous and complex carbohydrates they can stave off hunger and aid in weight control.
(6)Toxic – Cooking can render many foods toxic. The toxicity is confirmed by the doubling and tripling of the white blood cells after eating a cooked meal as shown in studies by Natural Academy of Sciences research in the USA.
(7)Freedom – raw foods mean no cooking, little preparation and less washing up – a real benefit!
To get your raw benefits increase uncooked salad, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (not roasted or salted) and fresh fruit and veg juices in your diet. (Always wash fruit and vegetables before consuming to remove pesticide and fertiliser residues and where possible choose organic). Raw foods will give you natural energy and vitality and the best balance of water, nutrients and fibre found in food to meet your body's needs.
By Donna Milligan ITEC dip GPP
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