Many people believe that the eating of raw foods is a sure fire way to a utopia of health and well-being, however not all raw foods are good for your health. It is all too easy with the huge amount of health food advertising these days, to fall into the trap of simply thinking ‘it’s a raw food so it must be healthy’. The true reality is that many raw foods are anything but healthy and can have a negative impact upon your health in both the short and long term.
In this list we have also included some raw animal products, which for the vast majority of vegans would be unethical to eat, yet we wanted to include them to show the harmful effect they can have upon the human body.
So the raw foods that you want to exclude from your daily raw food diet are:
Chocolate is made from the cocoa bean which itself has an unpleasant taste due to the presence of a number of alkaloids, including theobromine. This alkaloid is very similar to caffeine and is a known toxin for dogs, cats and other pets. In humans it is not considered to be toxic by mainstream science, but is still a stimulant and as such cannot be considered a true health food. If you have ever eaten raw chocolate, which we have in the past then you will know the effect it has upon your body. It can feel as if it is giving you a boost of energy when in fact it is simply stimulating your adrenal glands, which gives you the feeling of increased energy when in reality all it is doing is using the body’s energy reserves instead. Please click here to see our full article on "What makes raw chocolate unhealthy and toxic for your body".
The human body needs sodium which can be found in plentiful amounts in whole raw fruits and vegetables, yet many people feel that they need to add salt to their foods with sea salt and rock salt being the favourite types.
There are many negative health effects associated with the over consumption of salt that includes high blood pressure, water retention and nutrient absorption issues, not to mention it is highly addictive. Please click here to see our full article on "Why Adding Salt to Food is Bad For Your Health".
Cold pressed oils are touted as being the healthiest of oils due to the fact that they have not been heated in any way, yet because of their very nature, no oil can ever be considered a health food. Even though they come from plants the fact that they are processed and 100% fat in macro nutrient content makes them a very unhealthy option.
Weight gain is one area that the consumption of oils are well known to play a role in yet they can have many other adverse effects on the human body which include heart disease and the thinning of the blood, which in the case of a serious accident can have fatal consequences. It is important to understand that oils can contain healthy fatty acids but when these fatty acids are to be found in the form of oils, which are basically an unnatural and ‘unbalanced food product’, devoid of all other nutrients, then they act as a contributor to disease. Please click here to see our full article on "Why oils can never be health foods (even if they are 'raw')"
4. Garlic & Onion
The pungent smell of both onions and garlic are known the world over and if you want bad breath then there can be no better option than eating either one of them! Joking aside, they both contain a compound called allicin, which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Many people see this as being a good thing and a valid reason to consume them, but this goes against the fact that our bodies have what are called friendly bacteria which reside in the human gut. The eating of raw onions and garlic then has the very real potential of damaging these friendly bacteria and so negatively impacting upon your health. Garlic in its self is also known to adversely affect the human brain by slowing down people’s response times. Please click here to see our full article on "Garlic: health food or poison?".
5. Hot Spices
The use of hot spices is a favourite for many people when making soups or sauces, but the fact is they are highly irritating to the human body. As soon as you place foods that contain hot spices into your mouth, your body will instantly react to them, causing you to experience a burning sensation (irritants), which is the body’s negative reaction to the spices as its seeks their removal. Yes, your body is warning you that what you are eating is not in its best interests, yet many people still believe that the burning sensation is a kind of extra flavour rather than a warning sign from their body not to consume it.
In China, back in 2012 it was reported that a man ordered a hot spicy soup at a restaurant only to end up coughing up blood and having emergency surgery on his stomach, after the spicy soup had burnt a hole through it. The man had no medical history of gastrointestinal disorders.
Vinegar is a favourite condiment of many people and is formed by the process of fermentation, which happens when food decomposes due to bacterial action. This in itself should stop it from ever being considered a health food let alone the fact that it contains what is known as acetic acid a known toxin. Many would argue that as vinegar is watered down that this negates any negative effect from the acid, yet the negative effects from vinegar consumption can include anemia, ulcers and even the hardening of the liver.
Peanuts are actually legumes rather than nuts and are well-known for causing allergic reactions in many people. They contain what are known as lectins, which act as 'anti nutrients' and are understood to have the potential to cause many adverse health conditions in the human body, including autoimmune diseases. Peanuts are also susceptible to a mold, which produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin, so definitely not the kind of food you want to be feeding your body with.
We want to stress that these last 3 food groups are not vegan, however some non-vegan raw foodists can consume these items and we included them so as to point out the negative health effects associated with their consumption.
We have all heard about how milk contains lots of calcium and that it promotes bone health, but in fact the opposite is true. Like other animal products milk is acidifying to the human body when metabolised, which means that our bodies then have to use their own alkaline mineral stores to buffer this unhealthy, negative effect. This can actually lead to diseases like osteoporosis as calcium is leached from the bones. Milk protein causes many problems and has been linked with autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes.
The hormones found in cow’s milk are suspected of having serious effects upon human health that include various forms of cancer and when you consider that humans are the only animal on the entire plant that consume the milk from another animal species, it does not take much to understand it is anything but natural and healthy for us to consume.
9. Meat & Fish
The eating of raw fish is very popular in some cultures and you might well have heard about the supposed health benefits of eating ‘oily fish’ that contain good amounts of essential fatty acids (which can easily been found in a healthier form from eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds), yet there is far more to the eating of fish than just the omega 3’s. The large amount of protein that you will get from eating meat from any animal, inevitably leads to the overconsumption of this nutrient, which is associated with many diseases including cancer. Animal protein is also acidifying to the human body.
A heightened risk of coronary heart disease has been linked with the consumption of animal flesh for a long time now and the fact that you will be ingesting all manner of animal hormones is another very good reason if you needed one, to cross these animal products off your food list.
Parasitic round worms are always a concern with regards to raw meat and fish and will infect the human gut upon consumption with the potential to cause serious infection and disease.
Just like fish/animal flesh, eggs contain a lot of protein, which again is of an acidifying nature when metabolised by the human body. Along with the large amount of protein in eggs they also contain a lot of cholesterol, which has been linked to a number of diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. With the understanding that cholesterol is produced by the human body itself, without the need for any dietary intake of cholesterol, then the reasons for not consuming eggs become even clearer.
With the understanding that not all raw foods are equal in terms of allowing you to reach your highest health potential, it is very important to know that eating a diet that incorporates whole fruits, vegetables along with some nuts and seeds and has a healthy level of fat intake, can make a tremendously positive difference to your overall well-being and fitness levels.
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Photograph of garlic press (1) : By Lee Kindness [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photograph ofpeanuts (2) : By Jack Dykinga, USDA ARS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AARS_peanuts.jpg, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/ARS_peanuts.jpg