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Health Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 29, 2022

The raw food diet is not a new idea. Our ancestors ate raw food, whether they ate plants, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or the animals they caught in those days. Fast forward to the western diet, and people often eat overprocessed, overcooked food to the point that it affects the level of nutrients in many foods. 

What are the health benefits of eating a raw food diet? Is a raw food diet safe? Is it okay to enjoy a raw protein shake as part of my raw food plan? Let's check out the questions and answers that you likely have, then we answer additional frequently asked questions. Let's go! 

The Raw Food Diet Surge 

The raw food diet was not the creation of someone who lived in the 19th century, although it is a frequent claim on some websites. The raw food diet started with our ancient ancestors. 

The majority of ancient peoples often did not have fire, so everything was raw when they ate it. Think of the caveman or the Neanderthals. They did not yet have fire-making skills. Once people gained fire-making skills, the raw food diet was no longer the only way to eat food. 

The raw food diet went out of favor until a recent surge, mainly due to beliefs about the health benefits of raw food consumption. The author of “Back to Nature: The Eutropheon” provides details about Vera and John Richter, who established The Raw Food Dining Room in Los Angeles in 1919. Advertisements proclaimed that an “unfired diet” is not only attractive, but delicious and aesthetic. The advertisement also stated that it is “moral.” 

Menu options included fruit, flower and vegetable salads, uncooked soups, unfired pies, and other items. 

Health Benefits of a Raw Food Diet 

People who engage in eating a raw food diet today consume more than their dinner salad in a raw state. The surge provided people with new options for preparing healthy, delicious meals. The health benefits of eating raw are likely to be a major factor in people switching from an unhealthy diet to a raw food diet.  

Some benefits of a raw food diet include: 

  • The many fruits and vegetables help to control blood pressure
  • The diet is low in sodium
  • Eating a raw food diet helps to protect you from conditions such as colds and the flu 
  • It limits consumption of foods known to contribute to bad health, such as added sugars 
  • It helps you to lose weight 

The raw food diet provides several other benefits, including that you avoid the depletion of vitamins and minerals often lost during the cooking process, and you save money. The VegKitchen indicates that eating a raw food diet may reverse or stop the progression of medical conditions such as certain cancers and heart disease. 

What Can I Eat If I Follow a Raw Food Diet? 

One primary idea of eating raw is that you do not let the temperature of food go over 118 degrees. You eat mostly raw fruits, raw vegetables and grains. Proponents of the raw food diet tout the fact that, compared to many cooked foods, uncooked foods provide proper nutrition. 

So, what can you eat when you decide to follow a raw food diet? The main foods include: 

  • Raw fruits and vegetables 
  • Nuts  
  • Seeds 
  • Soaked and sprouted grains and beans and other legumes 
  • Raw spices and herbs and green food powder such as dried wheatgrass or algae 
  • Seaweed 

The Spruce Eats explains that raw foodists drink herbal teas, fresh fruit and vegetable juices. What about a raw protein shake? Is that allowed if you follow a raw food diet? Several options exist that allow you to enjoy a raw protein shake. Shop at your local grocer, retailer or other brick and mortar locations for raw protein shake options.  

Ultimate Meal vs Raw Meal 

How do the Ultimate Meal and the Raw Meal compare? Let's take a look.

The Ultimate Life site claims refers to the Ultimate Meal as the “ultimate source of nourishment available anywhere at any price.” It contains sprouted, fresh, freeze-dried and cold milled, “preferably organic” plant foods. The product ingredients retain their nutrients and anti-oxidants. 

It contains no soy, no coloring, no fillers, no artificial preservatives or MSG. The Ultimate Meal does not contain dairy products and has no sugar or fructose. 

Click the label to learn the nutrition facts. The product provides 100 percent of the RDA of Vitamin B12, and small amounts of iron, folate and calcium. 

There are several Garden of Life Raw Meal protein shake options listed on sites like Amazon. The product contains 20 grams of protein. It is vegan, gluten free, and does not contain soy or dairy products. The Raw Meal has 21 vitamins and minerals and has 44 superfoods, including fruits, vegetables and organic grass juices. 

Supplements to Consider on a Raw Food Diet 

Vegans who follow a raw food diet may already take some supplements, such as Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, or Omega-3 Fatty Acids. The fact that you may need some supplements is likely not news to most people.  

Some people who are not vegans or those who do not follow a raw food diet believe that they become healthier if they take certain supplements. Consider taking Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, iron or calcium supplements if you follow a raw food diet.  

Some studies showed that people who eat raw may have lower levels of protein or calcium, compared to people who do not eat raw. Talk to your doctor or another professional who has knowledge of following a raw food diet to learn which specific supplements that you need for your raw food lifestyle. 

Check out the suggested raw food diet menu provided by Healthline to give you an idea of how to get started if you are new to the raw food diet lifestyle, or if you want to explore menu plan options. 


Is there a way for vegans to get enough zinc in their diet? 

Yes, nuts and seeds, which are a part of a raw food diet, provide an excellent amount of zinc

How do I get started on a raw food lifestyle? 

Some people start slowly and if this is you, start eating many raw foods that you would normally cook. 

Is eating raw more expensive? 

No, because you have the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and other raw foods when they are in season and less expensive when in season. 





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