The Benefits and Risks of a Raw Vegan Diet

The Benefits and Risks of a Raw Vegan Diet

The vegan diet has been around for quite some time now. In recent times, however, it has gained popularity as its ‘raw’ version has come to the fore. As part of the raw vegan diet plan, there is no room for any animal-based foods. On top of that, all the food is to be eaten either completely raw or heated at a temperature below 40–48°C.

So, the raw vegan diet combines veganism with foodism. Although some people eat a vegan diet for environmental and ethical reasons, others have it for its health benefits. These include improved heart health, weight loss, and a decline in the risk of developing diabetes.

While the raw vegan diet plan boasts some excellent health merits, it is not free from certain risks. This article dives into both the merits and demerits of a raw vegan diet.

Health benefits of a raw vegan diet

There are several health benefits of a raw vegan diet. These include:

May help reduce the risk of diabetes

Several studies indicate that a raw vegan diet may be helpful for reducing the risk of diabetes. This is mainly due to the fact that the diet plan focuses on the consumption of vegetables and fruits mainly. These correlate with a lower risk of diabetes type II.

On top of that, the diet plan is enriched with fiber, which is a nutrient that corresponds with increased insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, a vegan diet is rich in the intake of nuts, sprouted grains, seeds, and legumes. All these help to lower the levels of blood pressure.

A review study went on to find that vegan and vegetarian diets can lower the risk of diabetes type II by 12%. However, there aren’t any extensive studies that have probed into the direct effects of a vegan diet, so it is hard to claim anything with guarantee.

May aid digestion

A raw vegan diet plan provides a loaded amount of fiber from whole plant foods. These can help improve digestion. This diet plan supplies both insoluble and soluble fibers, both of which help significantly.

Soluble fibers help feed the gut bacteria that, in turn, helps to lessen inflammation in the gut. Once the levels of inflammation go down, you may notice an improvement in multiple digestive health concerns including Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.

On the other hand, insoluble fiber can also prove to be helpful as it adds to the bulk of stools. Besides, it helps move the food quickly through your gut. Both of these factors help to lessen the odds of having constipation.

May enhance heart health

A vegan diet plan gives a lot of priority to the intake of fruits and vegetables. Both of these help to reduce the risk of stroke and health disease as well as lower blood pressure. In doing so, the fruits and veggies that are a staple component of a raw vegan diet can help improve heart health.

Plus, there are plenty of sprouted whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes eaten in this meal. These also help to consistently lower blood cholesterol level, which further lowers the odds of a heart disease.

Observational studies have found out that vegan may have a 62% declined risk of dying from a heart disease and a 75% lower risk of having high blood pressure. Controlled studies have also found that a raw vegan diet plan can be useful in reducing LDL cholesterol.

May help shed the extra pounds

Lots of people recognize a vegan diet as an effective meal plan for weight loss. Plus, they also applaud the diet plan for maintaining the lost weight. Certain studies have also found that raw food diets including this meal plan can help lower the amount of body fat.

In fact, in one study, people who followed a raw diet plan for more than 3.5 years were able to lose 22-26 pounds (10-12 kg). Plus, the participants who had the highest amount of raw foods in their diet also had a lowered BMIs (body mass indexes).

Possible health risks associated with a raw vegan diet

Some of the possible health demerits that may come in the company of a raw vegan diet:

May weaken bones and muscles

A raw vegan diet may be rich in certain nutrients but low in others. For instance, in this case, the meal plan is low in vitamin D and calcium. Both of these nutrients are required for strong bones.

Studies are also coming to a similar conclusion. In one research, people in a raw vegan diet plan had lower mineral density and content than those following a standard American diet. Certain foodists may get enough vitamin D from sun exposure.

However, adults and those living in northern latitudes or people with darker skin may not be able to produce sufficient vitamin D consistently from sun exposure. Plus, a raw vegan diet supplies a small content of protein, which may often go down as low as 10% of the total number of calories in a day.

Some evidence suggests that such low levels of protein may be linked with weaker bones. What’s more, protein is also required for preserving muscle mass.

May lessen fertility

Another health risk associated with a raw vegan diet plan is reduced fertility. One study showed that 70% of the female participants following a raw vegan diet plan noticed irregularities in their menstrual cycle. On top of that, a third developed a condition called amenorrhea, which stops menstruation entirely.

It was also observed that the higher proportion of raw foods corresponded with stronger effects. The researchers also understood that women who eat only raw food have seven times increased the risk of amenorrhea than other females.

So far, it is understood that a raw vegan diet may effect a woman’s fertility due to its low-calorie content. This causes women to lose too much weight, which reduces their ability to menstruate.

May encourage tooth decay

A raw vegan diet may up your likelihood of tooth decay. This is possible due to the intake of lots of berries and citrus fruits. These fruits tend to be acidic, which causes your tooth enamel to decay.

One study also noted that 97.7% of people who were on raw vegan diet suffered from tooth decay to some extent. These findings were in contrast with 86.6% of the others in the control group.

May not be nutritionally balanced

There are several nutrients that may be naturally lower in a vegan diet plan. For example, vitamin D and calcium as discussed above. Another nutrient that is low in this meal plan is vitamin B12.

A smaller intake of this diet plan can lead to serious concerns such as infertility, heart disease, nervous system damage, anemia, and poor bone health. The amount of protein consumed is also considered to be less.

One way to solve this problem is to take supplements such as Vitamin B12 supplements. However, their use is often discouraged in a raw vegan diet due to the strong belief that you can get all the nutrients that your body needs from raw foods alone. Scientifically, however, this can increase your risk of developing nutrient deficiencies.

Bottom line

As with any other diet plan, the raw vegan diet plan comes with both its health benefits and risks. However, a well-planned raw vegan diet can always help limit the risks.

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