Raw Revolution: 5 Reasons Why Raw is Best
Now that summer is upon us, it’s the perfect time to get jazzed about boosting your ENERGY and your HEALTH!
And the best way of all is by incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Fresh produce contains loads of vitamins and minerals necessary for good health… but there’s so much more they can offer when you eat them the plain and simple way: RAW!
Here are 5 reasons you should get some RAW color this summer!
1. Raw vegetables and fruits are better and easier than their cooked counterparts.
Who knew that eating healthy could mean spending LESS time in the kitchen?!
Raw food has a natural balance of fiber, nutrients and water that the body needs for optimal health. Cooking, however, can significantly decrease all three of these important aspects by removing the digestive benefits of fiber, depleting vital nutrients like Vitamin C and substantially evaporating most of the water.
Cooking produce also requires additional preparation time and often includes the use of oils or other flavorings in the process.
Keeping things raw means keeping things simple: less dishes, better health!
Raw produce is also a great source of rapidly available energy. Fruits that have been eaten on an empty stomach can be digested in under 20 minutes, which means the glucose (sugar) in the fruit is available for immediate energy needs. If you chose to juice your vegetables (thereby removing the fiber which can lengthen the digestive process) you will also receive a great boost to your energy in no time.
2. Raw vegetables and fruits are very alkalizing for your body!
Did you know your body operates within a balanced pH? No matter what you feed it, the body (the bloodstream, the bones, etc) will attempt to maintain a neutral to slightly alkaline pH range of 7 .35-7.45.
When dietary choices lean too far to the acidic side, calcium is pulled from our bones to neutralize the acid. However, if the acid level becomes too overwhelming for the body to correct, we experience a wide range of symptoms such as sagging skin, stiff joints, muscle aches, osteoporosis (from the demand for calcium) and chronic disease.
Cancer especially can only survive in an acidic environment, so the more we do to aid our body in maintaining a balanced environment, the more we protect ourselves from such dreaded diseases.
And guess what?!
Non-starchy vegetables and most fruits are all very alkaline in nature. Even lemons, which may seem acidic, actually become alkaline when combined with the digestive enzymes of the mouth, stomach and small intestine.
Most veggies and fruit lean so far toward the alkaline side that they can help balance out the effects of more acidic foods (animal products, coffee, wheat, etc) on the body.
3. Raw vegetables and fruits are chocked full of health-promoting phytochemicals!
Phytochemicals are powerful plant (phyto is the Greek word for “plant”) compounds responsible for giving plants their color, flavor and natural disease resistance. What makes them desirable to us is that they work with the body to fight disease.
First and foremost, phytochemicals are most known for their antioxidant capabilities. Antioxidants work to counter the harmful effects of free radicals (unstable and damage-causing atoms and molecules) on the body.
Free radicals are responsible for causing premature aging, cancer, macular degeneration, heart disease, inflammation and a whole host of other undesirable health problems.
But phytochemicals from raw produce can make all the difference for health and well being! Here’s a few reasons why:
- They can inhibit the growth of all kinds of cancer by bolstering the body’s ability to neutralize potential carcinogens while promoting the growth of healthy cells;
- They can improve immune system performance;
- They can lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol;
- They can speed up the metabolism and promote weight loss; and
- They contain properties that are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory in action.
4. Raw vegetables and fruits contain live digestive enzymes!
One of the huge benefits of raw produce is that they contain live plant enzymes that aid the body with digestion.
Live plant enzymes begin working immediately to prepare chewed food for proper and efficient digestion and thereby the best absorption of nutrients. When these enzymes are not present (as is the case with cooked foods) the liver and pancreas are forced to manufacture the needed enzymes, which can slow down digestion and significantly hamper our energy level.
Keep in mind that sunlight activates enzyme activity, too, so freshly-picked produce is an excellent choice!
5. Raw vegetables and fruits contain naturally distilled water for optimal hydration!
On any summer day most of the population is dehydrated to some degree. Our choice of thirst-quenching beverages (iced-coffee, iced-tea, soda, lemonade, artificially flavored and sweetened “water” and sugar-laden sports drinks) combined with perspiration and a lack of fresh produce leave our body desperate for good ol’ fashioned water.
Symptoms of dehydration can include:
- Flushed face
- Dry skin
- Dark yellow urine
- Weakness & fatigue
Raw vegetables and fruit are a natural source of clean water that quickly and efficiently hydrates the body’s tissues. Fresh produce is a great way to help you obtain those 64+ ounces of water that your body needs for good health!
Most fruits and vegetables contain an abundance of water! Some of the best include watermelon, tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, cabbage and peppers. You can see a list of produce and their water percentage here (PDF doc).
And best of all, the water (and fiber) content of raw fruits and vegetables fill you up without adding on unnecessary calories! They’re a wonderful way to lose weight!