A raw food diet is usually free of the additives that are found in processed foods. A highly processed food diet can leave you feeling fatigued and a little lazy, and because you don’t need to worry about this issue when eating raw food, you’ll often find that you feel more energetic after a meal of raw foods.
As people explore alternative diet options to the modern processed food diet, one of the favorite options is the raw food diet. One of the major benefits is that people who follow a raw diet find it easier to stay awake after a meal than eating a meal of packaged foods.
If you’re wondering why this is the case, you’re in the right place – in this article, we’ll explain everything you’ve ever wondered about eating raw over choosing to eat cooked food made with processed ingredients.
Do You Get More Energy from Raw Food?
Raw foods offer more nutrition than processed ones. They are higher in nutrients like:
- Vitamins and minerals
- Omega fatty acids
- Enzymes that aid with nutrient absorption and utilization
This higher nutrition availability is one of the reasons you feel fresher and more awake after a meal of raw foods, and it is why having foods meant to be eaten raw can help boost your energy levels.
Additionally, a raw diet helps you reduce the intake of harmful food additives like refined and hidden sugars, chemical preservatives, and excess oil. Not only does this affect your ability to stay alert, it also causes a host of other health issues, such as hypertension, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Does Raw Food Have the Same Energy Availability as Cooked Foods?
In general, cooked food delivers more energy than raw foods. However, this isn’t to say that cooked food is better – a number of popular cooked dishes, including fried and fast foods, and foods that are rich in processed grains, such as white bread, pasta, and pizzas, can actually drain you of energy.
If you’re looking to optimize the energy you get on a raw food diet, it’s important to choose what you’re eating correctly. Some types of raw food that help boost your energy levels include:
Most people who are new to a raw foods diet don’t realize that they aren’t limited to raw vegan diet, and can still eat animal products. This includes being able to eat meat and fish. Raw fish especially offers great health benefits – as long as you make sure it’s stored properly.
Salmon in particular is full of nutrients, including the vitamins B12 and D. Vitamin B12 can boost your energy levels, and both B12 and D can help you fight fatigue naturally.
Bananas are a natural source of three different sugars – fructose, sucrose, and glucose – and provide you with a quick boost of energy when you need one.
Additionally, as the three sugars are absorbed into your body at different rates, you won’t experience an energy slump the way you would with many other foods. The sucrose, in particular, will help keep your energy levels steady.
Nuts offer an easy-to-eat, quick source of energy. Almonds contain nutrients like manganese, copper, riboflavin, and magnesium, while walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids. This allows them to not only satisfy your food cravings but also give you that jolt of energy you’ve been looking for.
Why are Raw Foods Better Than Cooked Foods?
Raw food has a number of health advantages. As mentioned above, these foods help improve your overall health. They make it easier to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of you developing hypertension by maintaining your blood pressure.
Additionally, they can help with weight loss and control of your caloric intake. Eating raw food actually burns calories – it’s harder for your body to digest raw food instead of cooked food, and so it needs to work harder, using more calories for digestion.
As raw food is free of additives that add a lot of calories to your diet, your caloric intake is naturally limited, allowing you to lose weight. For people struggling with getting their caloric intake down to the medically recommended amount, raw food diets can be very helpful.
Furthermore, cooking destroys enzymes, which affects the nutrient value of the food. Also, your vitamin intake is affected by the type of diet you eat. Some micronutrients are degraded by heat – which means cooking destroys them or makes them less effective. These include:
Folate (Vitamin B9)
The high temperatures at which you cook food may lead to folate leaching out of the food and into the cooking water. This vitamin is needed to help you form red blood cells, and can also prevent neural tube defects. Good sources of folate include raw broccoli, other green and leafy vegetables, and sunflower seeds. On way to get enough folate is to make green smoothies full of vegetables rich in the vitamin.
An antioxidant, vitamin C is easily degraded during the process of cooking food. The longer you cook it (and the higher the temperature), the more it degrades. It is required by your body to produce collagen, and also helps in wound healing and iron absorption. Sources of this vitamin include fruits like strawberries, kiwis, and grapefruit, oranges and orange juice, and tomatoes.
Better known as Vitamin A, it quickly becomes ineffective when it is heated (or cooked) in the presence of oxygen. It is necessary for healthy skin and vision. Vitamin A is found in high quantities in oily fish like salmon and king mackerel.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
This vitamin is another one that degrades due to heat, and if you’re looking to get thiamin from cooked food, you’ll have to be very careful when cooking. It plays a key part in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
Frequently Asked Questions on Eating Raw and Cooked Food
• Is eating only raw food okay?
Your diet should ideally have some cooked food in it. There are some types of food toxic to humans, but cooking makes them edible, such as elderberries and potatoes.
Additionally, some foods like broccoli and asparagus are enhanced nutritionally during cooking. Dairy products should be pasteurized (cooked) to kill harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning and are found in raw milk.
So, having some cooked foods in your diet is important. However, as explained above, raw foods are just as, if not more important. So, make sure your diet has the right balance, and don’t neglect raw food.
• Which foods are best eaten raw?
Foods that are best eaten raw include:
- Nuts like cashews and almonds
- Bell peppers, especially red bell pepper
- Juices made of fruits and vegetables