Eating Raw Fruits and Vegetables: The Benefits and Risks

Raw fruits and vegetables benefit the digestion process, and now there is proof that it helps with your mood too! So what are the raw fruits and vegetables benefits? Let’s explain.

Study on consuming raw fruits and vegetables benefits

A study from researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand shows the raw fruits and vegetables benefits to be particularly strong against depressive symptoms and in boosting mental health.

The study involved test groups consuming a higher amount of produce in natural form. The results showed higher levels of psychological wellness in those consuming raw fruits and vegetables in comparison to their cooking counterparts.

Within her eating behavior study, Kate L. Brookie says:

 “Higher intakes of fruit and vegetables, rich in micronutrients, have been associated with better mental health. However, cooking or processing may reduce availability of these important micronutrients.

‘Raw Foodism’ isn’t a new concept, it was largely pushed in the 80’s, but the modern day foodie puts more emphasis on blending options as well as ethical and moral components, particularly from the vegetarian and vegan communities who view the consumption of animal fats and products as morally inappropriate.

The slide towards eating raw food is exponentially increasing. We know that fruits and vegetables contain no animal fats, but it is the high yield conversion of natural sugars to energy that is most appealing.

Much of the essential nutrients of our fruit and veg is lost in the cooking phase, therefore minimizing nutrient uptake. The heat, and often the medium in which we are cooking fruits and vegetables, extracts essential nutrients away from the food. We are leaving the best part in the pan!

Raw foodists shudder at the waste of these vital components, and now they have academics studying the micronutrients, they have even more grounding behind their argument. Most raw foodists are blending or juicing, and when they must cook, they use a low temperature dehydrator. This way they are gaining optimal raw fruits and vegetables benefits.

Raw Fruits and Vegetables Benefits – Expert Insight

Many experts have emerged in the past decade or two and some great research has been carried out on the benefits of raw food to our health. In 2005, a study published in ‘The Journal of Nutrition’ finds some benefits of raw fruit and vegetable diet to be decreased levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

They surmise the benefits of raw fruits and vegetables to be strongly linked to the high uptake of essential nutrients with few calories. Other inference is made to steering away from animal products to reduce risk of high blood pressure, strokes, and heart disease.

Studies also confirm that processed foods, which often contain artificial sweeteners and chemical additives, wreak havoc on the immune system. Another raw fruit and vegetable benefit is a reduction in risk for cardiovascular disease.

Many prominent figures are emerging in the raw food world including T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. who’s infamous quote rings true in most raw foodist ears,

The most intimate relationship that you will ever have, is with food1”

Risks of eating raw fruits and vegetables

In some cases, eating raw fruits and vegetables is shown to restrict the nutrient benefits.

Studies have found the cooking increases antioxidant lycopene, which is a red pigment in vegetables such as tomatoes or carrots.

Be mindful to undergo regular health checks and add supplements to your diet where needed. Particularly for vitamin D, iron, zinc, and vitamin B-12. The 2005 study previously mentioned identified 38% of the study group on raw food diets to be deficient in B-12. Also, there is concern that some foods, such as raw eggs or unpasteurized dairy can increase risk of foodborne illness.

One study from the Netherlands by BA Bilthoven suggests that raw foods may be a risk factor for campylobacteriosis, which is an inflammatory foodborne illness causing severe cramping, headache and within 1-5 days diarrhea.

Bilthoven examines the prevalence of Campylobacter in fresh vegetables and fruits and draws mathematical comparison of the exposure rates and subsequent effect on the overall Dutch population.

Results of testing conclude the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables, especially when packaged, to be a risk factor for this illness.

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