Raw veganism is not a new concept but has been gaining in popularity recently. This concept basically combines the principles of veganism with raw food. Reasons for following raw veganism vary from person to person. Some are following it due to environmental concerns. Others have chosen it due to its many health benefits, including weight loss, increased heart health, and reduced risk of diabetes.
Despite its many health benefits, raw veganism can have some negative effects on our health. Some of the associated ill effects are weak muscles and bones and reduced fertility. To know whether raw veganism is good for health or not, we have to know about its benefits and disadvantages. Let’s dig in!
What Is Raw Veganism?
Raw veganism is a sub-type of veganism. Like veganism, it aims to exclude animal products in our diet. Unlike standard veganism, it adds the concept of raw food. The concept of raw veganism is that the food should be eaten completely raw or should be consumed heated below 40-48 degrees centigrade (104-118 degrees Fahrenheit).
This concept is supposed to have originated during the middle of the nineteenth century. This concept came into existence when Prebyterian ministerial and dietary reformer Sylvester Graham promoted it as the best strategy to avoid illness in human beings.
Talking about raw vegan diet, it is rich in fruits, nuts, vegetables, sprouted grains and leguminous food. In this concept processed food is abstained. Many people are going raw vegan due to health reasons. There is a strong belief that raw and food heated at low temperature are more nutritious than cooked foods.
In this method alternative approaches are employed for meal preparations. These methods include blending, juicing, sprouting, soaking, dehydrating etc. In this concept these alternative methods are followed than traditional cooking methods.
Health Benefits Of Raw Veganism
Raw vegan diet is supposed to be more nutritious than the cooked ones. So, it has many health benefits. The following some health benefits of raw veganism:
1. Promotes heart health
Raw vegan diet mainly consists of fruits and vegetables. These are linked with lower blood pressure and known to reduce the risk of several heart related diseases and strokes. Raw vegan diet is not only dominated by fruits and vegetables but it also consists of plenty of seeds, nuts, sprouted whole grains and legumes. These foods are known to reduce the blood cholesterol level. The reduced blood cholesterol level is highly beneficial for the heart.
Various studies showed that people with a raw vegan diet have 75 percent reduced risk of high blood pressure. Also, they have a 42 percent lower risk of dying from heart related diseases. The benefit of a raw vegan diet is primarily due to its higher nutrition content than cooked one.
2. Reduces the risk of diabetes
Raw vegan diet also reduces the risk of diabetes. As we know that it is a fruit and vegetable dominated diet that is associated with lower risk of diabetes. These foods are also rich in fiber. High fiber content is associated with the lower blood sugar level and increased insulin sensitivity. Also nuts, seeds, sprouted grains and legumes also help to reduce the blood sugar level.
There are too many studies related to the effect of a vegan diet. However, there is limited literature about the direct effect of raw veganism.
3. Increase the weight loss rate
If you want to remain slim and healthy, a raw vegan diet will be extremely helpful for you. Studies showed that a raw vegan diet helps people in losing weight. The raw vegan diet is supposed to reduce body fat content. One study revealed that following a vegan diet for more than 3.5 years reduces the 10 -12 kg body weight. Also, the people with the highest raw food in their diet have the lowest body mass.
A study shows that the body fat content in people following a raw vegan diet was 7-9.4 percent which is lower than the people following typical cooked food.
4. Facilitates proper digestion
Many people are facing the problem of digestion. Basically higher fiber content improves your digestion. So, in order to improve your digestion you have to focus on the foodstuffs high in fiber content. As compared to cooked food raw vegan food is high in both the soluble and non- soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is known to remove stools more quickly from your body and avoids constipation. Soluble fiber is good for the beneficial bacteria present in our body. Generally, these soluble fiber are used to feed the bacteria. Later these bacteria are known to produce short-chain fats that reduce inflammation in your gut. They are also proven beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
Risks Of Raw Vegan Diet
As stated earlier raw veganism has many fold health benefits. Despite its many fold health benefits, it too has some ill effects. The following are the some associated ill effects of following raw veganism.
1. Raw vegan diet may be nutritionally unbalanced
Raw vegan diets are excellent for the body if you plan properly but improper planning may make your diet nutritionally unbalanced. A balanced diet is one that has all nutrients and vitamins in required proportions as required by our body.
Raw vegan diets are nutritionally unbalanced. They lack vitamin B12. Raw food materials naturally lack vitamin B12. Consuming diets with lower amounts of vitamin B12 may cause health disorders like nervous system damage, anemia, many heart related diseases and poor bone health. However, you can get rid of this problem by taking a supplement.
Raw vegan diets are also deficient in calcium and vitamin D, so it may weaken your muscles and bones. These two nutrients are crucial for the proper growth and development of the bones. Low amount of these nutrients in your diet may lead to many bone-related problems. Softening of the bones, rickets, osteomalacia are some of the disorders associated with the lower level of calcium and vitamin D in your diets.
Several studies have suggested that people with a raw vegan diet have lower bone mineral content than people with other diets. People with limited sunlight exposure are also vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency. So, like the people with darker skin.
Also, it has been found that raw vegan diets only provide little protein. This lower protein level is insufficient to meet your basic biological needs and is associated with muscle weakening.
2. It is responsible for tooth decay
Raw vegan diet is also supposed to weaken the likelihood of tooth decay. This incidence is generally high with diets that have a lot of citrus and berries. Since these foods are high in acid content and may cause erosion to the tooth enamel.
About 97.7 percent of people following a raw vegan diet experienced the problem of raw vegan diet as compared to 87 percent with that of the control group.
3. It may reduce your fertility
Studies have revealed that a raw vegan diet is also associated with reduced fertility. About 70 percent of women following vegan diets have experienced menstrual irregularities. Some women also experienced amenorrhea. The effect seems to be higher in women with more raw food than in women with less raw food. Women with only raw food experienced amenorrhea seven times more than other women.
Due to its low calorie content, raw vegan diets may reduce fertility in women. This is associated with excessive weight loss that reduces the women’s ability to menstruate.
Is Raw Vegan Diet Healthier?
Frankly speaking the answer is yes. The raw vegan diet has many fold advantages. These health benefits are what made it popular throughout the world. However, it also has some ill effects. But if you plan properly and incorporate foods with diverse nutrients, you can get rid of these ill effects and can have a healthier lifestyle than the people with cooked diets.
Plant based food items are really worthy for our health. But many essential nutrients get lost during cooking. So, due to loss of these nutrients we cannot reap those benefits. To solve this the concept of raw veganism was developed in the middle of the nineteenth century. This is basically the concept of consuming raw food or the food that is heated below 40-48 degree centigrade. There are many benefits of having a raw vegan diet and is much healthier than cooked ones. Reduced risk of heart related problems, reduced risk of diabetes, improved digestion and reduced blood cholesterol level are some benefits of consuming a raw vegan diet. Apart from its positive impacts, the raw vegan diet does also have some ill effects. The associated ill effects are weakening of muscles and bones, reduced fertility, higher incidence of tooth decay etc.. Proper planning may help you to overcome these ill effects and you can enjoy a healthier life following the raw vegan diet.