Raw Foods: A Health Risk?

With all the fad diets that have come and gone throughout the years, is it possible that a raw foods diet is just another trend? Many people have concluded that just because something is closer to nature, it is conducive to good health. There are those who disagree, and for good reason.

There are risks involved with eating certain foods that are uncooked due to their indigestibility. Potatoes would be an excellent example due to their high starch content. When cooked, potatoes provide certain vitamins and minerals that promote good health and a balanced diet. However, if eaten raw, potatoes could cause sickness due to the lack of digestibility. There are other foods, that, if eaten raw, can also cause serious illness. While most people who eat a raw foods diet stick to vegetable, nuts, seeds and grains, there are those who eat uncooked meat and eggs. Sushi, the most commonly consumed raw fish, is not the only one. There is a minority of people who eat raw eggs, chicken, beef and pork, among others raw meats as well. Without cooking meats to the proper temperature, the risk of parasites and bacteria such as salmonella which can lead to death, are prevalent. For this reason alone, meats and eggs should be cooked to prevent the possibility of the worst possible outcome.

Many people with certain medical problems could have diverse effects of eating raw foods. People who have thyroid issues could have adverse reactions to certain types of raw vegetables, because of a compound in specific foods that naturally blocks thyroid functionality. These compounds are called Goitrogens. When foods containing these compounds are cooked, the heat deactivates the Goitrogens. Some of these foods are broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. While there are great benefits to eating a balance of raw foods proper research is very important, especially for those with medical issues. Anyone with medical issues should always consult their physician before changing anything significant in their diet.

There seems to be a great deal of misconception about eating a raw foods diet in general. Some say that cooking food breaks down all the nutritional value, while the opposite is true in many cases. If foods are overcooked, it is likely nutrients are destroyed. However, there are methods such a steaming and baking that break down foods enough for the nutrients to be absorbed into the body.

Like in life, the best rule of thumb is to have proper balance. When a balance of cooked and raw foods is incorporated into one’s diet, optimal health can be attained.

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