Here are results noted from a few of the studies done on the benefits of raw food diets:
Nutrition and Energy
Raw foods are packed with nutrients and can provide a significant amount of energy for our body’s needs. For example, dates contain the highest amount of antioxidants among the dry fruits that are more commonly consumed raw. Antioxidants clear the free radicals that destroy normal cells and alter the functioning of tissues and organs. Dates contain significant amount of minerals such as selenium, copper, potassium, and magnesium and vitamins including: C and the B-complex vitamins. Dates are also good sources of energy – one study showed that 100gm of dates (without the seed) provide about 314 kilocalories of energy. Another study that evaluated the energy values in vegetables reported that vegetables were significant sources of energy with the energy values ranging from 281.4 to 303.9 kcal/100 g. This tells us that fruits and vegetables can provide most of the energy requirements in the human body.
References: Vinson JA, Zubik L, Bose P, Samman N, Proch J. Dried fruits: excellent in vitro and in vivo antioxidants. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Feb;24(1):44-50. Al-Farsi MA, Lee CY. Nutritional and functional properties of dates: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2008 Nov;48(10):877-87. Aberoumand A. Preliminary assessment of nutritional value of plant-based diets in relation to human nutrients. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009 Mar 9:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]
Most of us know that eating junk foods and foods high in fats have a direct negative effect on the heart and can lead to heart disease and eventual failure. However, a diet that includes living raw foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains and beans significantly reduces the risk of heart disorders. Studies conducted on the relation between consumption of raw fruits and vegetables and the incidence of heart disorders concluded that an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables significantly reduced this risk. It’s also noted that the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (HDL) decreased while the ‘good’ cholesterol (LDL) increased. This control of cholesterol prevents the occurrence of various heart disorders associated with high cholesterol levels.
References: Koebnick C, Garcia AL, Dagnelie PC, et al. Long-term consumption of a raw food diet is associated with favorable serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides but also with elevated plasma homocysteine and low serum HDL cholesterol in humans. J Nutr. 2005 Oct;135(10):2372-8. Garcia AL, Koebnick C, Dagnelie PC, et al. Long-term strict raw food diet is associated with favourable plasma beta-carotene and low plasma lycopene concentrations in Germans. Br J Nutr. 2008 Jun;99(6):1293-300. Epub 2007 Nov 21.
Dietary Fiber for Health
Raw foods high in fiber offer many benefits. These include: lowering the blood cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease, improving blood glucose control, reducing risk of cancers and improving gastrointestinal functions. Americans eat about half of the recommended daily dietary fiber. Adding more raw foods to your diet can easily increase fiber intake.
Reference: Anderson JW, Smith BM, Gustafson NJ. Health benefits and practical aspects of high-fiber diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 May;59(5 Suppl):1242S-1247S.
A Great Way to Lose Weight
Many studies have concluded that a raw foods diet significantly reduces the body weight and the body mass index (BMI) scores. One study conducted on African American women noted that there was a significant reduction in weight and BMI scores when these women were on a raw food diet for 3 months. Another study conducted for about 7 months duration reported that the subjects involved in the study lost up to 3.8 kilos while on a raw diet.
References: Weerts SE, Amoran A. Pass the Fruits and Vegetables! A Community-University-Industry Partnership Promotes Weight Loss in African American Women. Health Promot Pract. 2009 Apr 3. [Epub ahead of print] Douglass JM, Rasgon IM, Fleiss PM, et al. Effects of a Raw Food Diet on Hypertension and Obesity. Primary Articles. Southern Medical Journal. 1985; 78(7):841-844.
Look Young with Raw Foods
As we age the constructive body processes begin to slow down and destructive processes take over. Phytonutrients and antioxidants in raw foods counteract these destructive processes. The antioxidants prevent the destruction of cells and help the skin to retain its firmness and youthful glow. The phytonutrients are also known to help prevent and counteract disorders of the skin and cancers in general.
References: Ditre C, Wu J, Baumann LS, Rigel D. Innovations in natural antioxidants and their role in dermatology. Cutis. 2008 Dec;82(6 Suppl):2-16. Angelopoulou R, Lavranos G, Manolakou P. ROS in the aging male: Model diseases with ROS-related pathophysiology. Reprod Toxicol. 2009 Apr 18. [Epub ahead of print]
Smoking and Alcohol Cessation
An interesting discovery was made during a study to observe the benefits of raw foods on body weight and blood pressure. While there was an expected reduction in the body weight and blood pressure levels in the individuals involved in the study - another astonishing factor was noted. About 80% of those involved in this study reported that they had stopped smoking and drinking alcohol completely by the time the study concluded! It’s possible the phytonutients present in the raw foods have a cleansing effect on the body that led to this happening.
Reference: Weerts SE, Amoran A. Pass the Fruits and Vegetables! A Community-University-Industry Partnership Promotes Weight Loss in African American Women. Health Promot Pract. 2009 Apr 3. [Epub ahead of print]
This sampling of clinical research studies gives you an idea of the many benefits reaped from raw food diets.
Living Raw Foods - The Fire of Life >Clinical Research Results of Raw Food Diets