Q: What are the health benefits of a raw food diet?
A: The raw food diet is a special type of vegan or vegetarian eating in which no cooked foods are consumed (which eliminates the safe consumption of most meat products).
People who stick to a raw food diet (itís hard to do!!) often consume fewer fats (many of which come from the oils and butter used in cooking). This leads to better cardiovascular health.
Cooking fruits and vegetables can decrease the amounts of Vitamin C and the B vitamins, so eating a raw diet will likely increase your consumption of these healthy nutrients, too.
Just like any vegetarian diet, you need to make certain that you are not robbing your body of important nutrients, particularly proteins. Practitioners of raw food diets have also been found to have thinner bones.
If this is a path you are interested in exploring more, I recommend finding a nutritionist to work with you to create a healthy diet plan that you can eventually manage independently.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.