Thursday, January 19, 2012

Benefits of Eating Raw

    
      Raw foods come to us with the living enzymes necessary to facilitate the digestion and assimilation of the nutrients in foods. Cooking kills all enzymes, as well as most vitamins, and alters the minerals and proteins in such a way that they are less usable to the body. Because the cooked food is not accompanied by the enzymes necessary for digestion, it places more of a strain on our digestive system and many of the nutrients that are left after cooking are lost in this process (besides those lost through any refining or processing).

       Raw foods are also the most nutritionally dense, because all of the original vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and fiber are in their unaltered forms and completely available to our bodies. A raw food offers up to three times the nutrition of the same cooked. Since true nutrition is concerned with feeding our cells, it is important to provide them with the living nutrients of raw foods. Life can be sustained on cooked foods, but cells are not replenished and replaced in an optimal way. On raw foods you will find that you eat less, yet your body will operate more efficiently with what you provide.


       Also because raw foods are easily digested, less energy will be expended on the process of digestion and be available to you. Most people who add more raw foods to their diet are surprised by the increase in energy they experience.  (The above article is from Simplynaturalhealth.com)


A couple ways to add raw foods to your diet:
Smoothies-  Green smoothies are best.  Start small by adding just a handful of spinach to your favorite fruit smoothie.  It won't change the color or taste if you use just a handful.
Try putting baby carrots or some other sliced vegetable on the table while the rest of the meal is still cooking.  I've noticed that we will eat more vegetables if there isn't anything else available right then.
Salads or coleslaw are always easy.  I always have the ingredients on hand for a fruit or green salad so I can have a salad for lunch or with dinner most days.

Anyone else out there trying to get more raw foods in?  How do you do it?

6 comments:

  1. Smoothies and Salads are our main raw foods around here too. We also eat a lot of cucumbers, since that is a vegetable all the kids like. I find it's easier to eat raw foods in the summer than it is in the winter.

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    1. Jacque, I agree! In the winter I want something warm. Plus, it's harder to find fresh produce at a good price this time of year. I love (and miss) my summer garden!

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  2. I'm trying to avoid some raw foods for the next 5 months :) Safer that way. But soon I will get back to my green smoothies and clean fresh raw veggies. Hummus with my veggies helps mix things up a bit so I don't get bored with them.

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    1. Do you know some "locals" who could help you find a good farmer's market in Merida? That was one my favorite things about Italy.

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  3. Raw veggies are a wonderful and necessary part of our diets, but it isn't true that cooking destroys all enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. In some cases, cooking frees up and activates enzymes and nutrients that would otherwise be unavailable to our bodies. Cellulose, the fiber in plant cells, cannot be digested by the human body, so sometimes cooking is necessary to break down those fibrous plant cells and free up the good stuff we need. Tomatoes are an excellent example. Cooked tomatoes are much healthier for you than raw, because the lycopene becomes much more available and concentrated after cooking. You would have to eat an outrageous amount of raw tomatoes to get the same nutritional benefit that you get from a small quantity of tomato paste. Carrots, spinach, and cabbage are also examples of veggies that benefit from being cooked. Here's an interesting article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=raw-veggies-are-healthier

    I think the key is to have a balance. But you knew that. :)

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    1. Jenna, You're right about the lycopene. And that the key is balance. In quoting that article I didn't intend to promote a completely raw diet, only that raw foods are essential to a healthy body.
      Thanks for the link!

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