Raw Food Diet: Benefits & Foods To Eat

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Going on a raw food diet can be a quick way to lose weight and improve your nutrient intake profile, but before starting the diet, there are some things you should understand.

What is a Raw Food Diet?

A raw food diet is one in which people eat only or primarily raw foods, those that have been unprocessed, cooked or refined. The idea behind this is that such a diet is what humans evolved to eat over hundreds of thousands of years. Technologies like pasteurization, homogenization, and other forms of food processing have only been developed in the past hundred years. Essentially, a raw diet is what we were designed to consume, and as such, proponents of this diet consider it a healthier option. [1]

Raw vegetables and fruits make up a large proportion of the diet, but there are many other raw and unprocessed foods that can fit into this diet. Unlike many other diets, this isn’t a short-term or fad diet; instead, this can become a permanent lifestyle choice, or at least key elements can be retained on a permanent basis, such as eating 2-3 pieces of raw fruit each day, for example. [2]

A basket of fresh fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of a balanced diet. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Raw Food Diet Plan

On a raw food diet, there are certain foods that are acceptable, and others that must be eliminated.

Raw Foods to Eat

Foods to Avoid

  • Alcohol, coffee, and tea
  • Refined sugar
  • Baked goods
  • Cooked meats, vegetables, and fruits
  • Pasta
  • Pastries
  • Pasteurized dairy products
  • Refined oil

Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

The many benefits of a raw food diet include the following: [3]

  • Reduction in inflammation
  • Improvement in liver function
  • Protection of heart health

The antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and other nutrients found in raw foods are better able to serve the body in their natural form. They can be easier to absorb, and you know that you aren’t losing much of the nutritional value during processing or cooking. Studies have found that a raw food diet is able to do the following: [4] [5]

High levels of soluble and insoluble fiber in these foods can help aid in digestive troubles and improve your energy levels. High levels of B vitamins in certain protein sources can optimize the metabolism, which regulates hormone production and help women struggling with PMS and menopause symptoms. When you remove many of the additives, chemicals, and unnatural ingredients from your food, you can also cut down on food allergy symptoms. By boosting the immune system, this diet is a comprehensive way to increase longevity and overall health. [6]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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