A POSSIBLE WEAPON AGAINST CANCER
After analysing 49 studies done between 1994 and 2003, researchers noted that eating both raw and cooked veggies could reduce the risk of a variety of cancers, including oesophageal, lung, gastric and colorectal cancers. And they recommended increasing the intake of vegetables and eating some raw.
Later in 2008, scientists at Roswell Cancer Park Institute in the US suggested that cruciferous greens, in particular, might be best eaten raw. They found that people who had more of these veggies were less likely to develop bladder cancer, and even suggested that isothiocyanates in the fresh produce could be responsible for the effect.
Eating produce raw is key, as these cancer-fighting compounds are destroyed upon cooking. In fact, Oregon State University researchers discovered that boiling cruciferous vegetables for nine to 15 minutes decreases their isothiocyanate content by up to 59 per cent.
While research is ongoing to confirm the protective benefits of eating raw produce, anecdotal evidence abounds. The story of Dr Kristine Nolfi, a Dane who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1940, is often cited. After about a year of keeping to a 100 per cent raw food diet, her tumour shrank. When Dr Nolfi reduced her raw food intake by half, her cancer returned – but she felt less pain when she returned to eating only raw food.
ITS ROLE IN WEIGHT LOSS
According to the Journal of Nutrition by the American Society for Nutrition, people on a long-term raw food diet have lower levels of artery-clogging triglycerides. What’s more, as raw foodists typically eliminate processed food completely, they’re also likely to eat less saturated fat and sodium. This could explain why many stay slim on the diet, but nutritionists, dietitians and other experts say that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Next: What’s missing from the raw food diet.