You might already know that here at Raw Gaia, wherever possible, we choose to use cold pressed, cold milled or unpasteurised raw ingredients, to create our accredited range of organic skincare products, rather than opting for a manufacturing process that depletes the beneficial nutrients from our carefully chosen ingredients. So it should come as no surprise that we are also passionate about eating raw. And we're not the only ones! With movements such as Raw Till 4 and Raw Till Whenever growing in popularity, more and more people are learning about the benefits of eating raw and starting to incorporate it into their diets.
Raw Foodism advocates eating unprocessed, whole plant-based foods and suggests that a minimum of three-quarters of a person's diet should come from uncooked food. Proponents explain that 'raw and living foods contain essential food enzymes that are destroyed if the food is heated to above 116 Fahrenheit (47 Celsius/Centigrade)' (1). In addition, they claim that many essential minerals and vitamins are also destroyed by the process. That doesn't mean that those eating raw are subjected to a life of bland fruit and veg though! They eat a rich variety of foods including sprouted beans and grains, soaked nuts, juiced vegetables, food 'cooked' in a dehydrator and cultured vegetables such as kimchi. Open any raw cookbook and within just a few pages, you're guaranteed to have discovered several delicious new recipes to try.
Those eating raw claim that it has a whole host of health benefits including protection against cancer, reduced risk of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, weight loss, a strengthened immune system and higher energy levels (2). Although research into the benefits of
raw foodism is in the early stages initial studies seem to be backing up the claims made by it's proponents. A study (3) from 2005 indicated that eating a strict raw food diet lowered the cholesterol of it's participants and another (4) from 2008 showed that the bioavailability of sulforaphane (an anti-cancer and blood pressure lowering compound) was higher after eating raw broccoli as opposed to cooked. Most recently, a population based study from China (5) in 2013 concluded that raw garlic may potentially serve as a chemopreventive agent for lung cancer after they observed 'protective association between intake of raw garlic and lung cancer'.
So why not give it a try and start eating a little less cooked and a little more raw? You don't have to make any drastic changes or go completely raw but even changing one meal a day or every other day to being raw could make a massive difference to your health and well being. Any positive changes you make to your lifestyle and diet, no matter how small, will have an impact on both your physical and mental well being.
And to help guide you on your health journey, in my next blog post, I am going to share with you one of my favourite recipes to get you inspired...