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Supercharge Your Diet With Raw Foods

Supercharge Your Diet With Raw Foods

If you’re someone that enjoys biting into a crisp apple or a crunchy carrot freshly pulled from the ground or eating peas straight from the pod, there’s some good news for you. Incorporating more raw foods into your diet may boost your intake of beneficial nutrients and improve your health.

The raw foods trend started as a lifestyle choice in California in the 1960s and became increasingly popular in the 1990s. Eating everything raw – including meat and eggs – may be a bit too extreme for most people, but upping your intake of colourful fruits and vegetables to at least “five a day” is now viewed as the best foundation for a healthy diet. Vegetarianism and Veganism are on the increase, and people are becoming more aware of the bad effects of fast foods and protein-heavy diets on their own wellbeing and the health of the planet.

So, fruits and vegetables are good for you; but are raw vegetables really better for you than cooked ones? Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are bursting with vitamins and minerals, some of which may be destroyed by cooking. As much as a third of vitamin C is lost by boiling vegetables in water, and broccoli loses much of an enzyme called myrosinase, which is thought to have anti-cancer properties, when it's cooked. Another anti-bacterial and cancer preventing compound, allicin, is found in higher amounts in raw onions and garlic, rather than cooked ones. Although eating these in large quantities probably won’t win you too many friends!


Cooking reduces vegetables’ volume, and eating them raw is possibly more filling and requires a lot more chewing, so it may be helpful if you want to lose weight. However, if your weight is normal, you may find it difficult to consume enough calories to keep you healthy if too much of your diet consists of raw plants.

Lightly steaming (rather than boiling) your vegetables preserves more of their vitamins and minerals, and may be more practical most of the time than hard-core raw eating. And tomatoes are actually more nutritious if they’re cooked. Lycopene, which gives them their red colour, is thought to help in the fight against cancer and heart attacks and is intensified by cooking – it’s even present in tomato ketchup!

As the weather warms up, the shops will soon be full of seasonal vegetables, fresh salad leaves and summer berries, all delicious, nutritious and low in calories, so why not make the most of these or better still, grow your own? It’s a lighter way of eating that’s more appealing in the summer months. Fresh fruits or vegetables whizzed in a blender to make a smoothie, a colourful salad or cold soup are all welcome on a hot day or try replacing tortilla wraps with crisp, sweet romaine lettuce leaves.

Proponents of a raw food diet claim it leads to a leaner body, clearer skin and more energy. Adversely, followed too rigidly, it can lead to undernourishment and health problems. Cooking also kills harmful bacteria. As with most things, there are pros and cons and moderation is key. Current advice from the NHS is that “Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.”

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