A Raw Food Diet: Is it Healthier?
In today's ever health-conscious world, the Raw Food Movement is on the rise, gaining new devotees as well as critics.
The basic premise of the raw food diet is that raw foods in their whole, natural form provide the enzymes necessary for digestion and vibrant health, and that cooking food destroys these natural enzymes along with many of the other critical nutrients in whole, unprocessed food. By eating raw, whole foods, you consume the enzymes found within them, which are believed to enhance and improve digestion, leading to better absorption of the food's beneficial compounds (such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants). Raw food enthusiasts claim that this diet promotes good health because your cells are able to acquire the nutrients they need from pure, unadulterated food.
Ancient Wisdom Perspectives
From the point of view of Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine, the raw food philosophy is not completely accurate. These ancient traditions assert that cooking food actually makes many of the nutrients more available. They also state that eating cooked food protects the digestive capacity ("digestive fire") of the body. With all the contradictory dietary advice out there, it's no wonder people may be confused about which diet is best for them.
One Size Does Not Fit All
It all comes down to the health requirements of the individual, as everybody has unique dietary needs. According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, raw foods have a "cooling" effect on the body, so someone with a lot of "heat" and inflammation may do better on a raw foods diet than someone with a colder constitution. Also, it is interesting to note that the majority of success within the raw food movement is found among those who live in warmer climates. Cooked whole food is healthier for people with weaker digestion and colder constitution, as cooked foods are more warming, and easier to break down and assimilate.