Can A Raw Food Diet Make You Healthier?


You’ve probably heard about the raw food diet. Raw foods enthusiasts report numerous health benefits like clearer skin, less brain fog, more energy and less weight. But here’s the question – do raw foods make you healthier?

This growing enthusiasm for fresh fruits and vegetables is well-founded.

As raw foods expert, Steve Factor, explains, by increasing the amount of raw fruits and vegetables in your diet, you can bring in energizing phytonutrients sequestered in plants through photosynthesis. At the same time, you’ll be replacing overly processed foods in your diet with healthier alternatives. And consequently reducing the amount of toxins you take into your body with every meal.[1]

But there are some nutritional challenges that need to be overcome as well. Here we delve into the pro’s and the con’s of a raw foods diet and offer some tactical ways to make eating more raw foods a healthy change to your lifestyle.

More Raw Foods Can Reduce Your Risk For All Diseases, Especially Heart Disease

A meta-analysis of several studies published in the medical journal, BMJ, in 2014 showed that with each additional serving of fruits and vegetables, your risk for all disease goes down by 5%. So if you add 4 more servings of fruits and vegetables to your day, your risk can go down by as much as 20%![2]

And according to a groundbreaking study published in 2011 that involved 27,000 people, boosting your intake of fruits and veggies can change your risk for heart disease at the genetic level! Many of us harbor a variant of the gene 9p21 in our bodies. This gene variant is considered one of the strongest indicators for heart disease risk. If you carry this specific variant, you could be more at risk for having heart problems.

However, researchers found that by following what they called a “prudent diet”, one composed mostly of raw fruits, berries and vegetables, you could beat this genetic death sentence. Even if you have the 9p21 variant, by adhering to this diet you could bring your risk factor down genetically to match the heart disease risk of the rest of the population.

The researchers are currently working on unraveling the exact mechanics of how increasing your raw produce intake can decrease this gene’s power.

How Raw Fruits And Vegetables Can Give You Better Nutrition

But while we’re waiting for more research on its overall health effects, there’s plenty of evidence demonstrating that eating more raw foods can give you some stellar nutrition. Many phytonutrients (unique nutrients found in plants) are heat sensitive and are lost by cooking.

• Uncooked produce gives your body more of the fiber it needs to slow absorption of cholesterol, improve digestion and feed probiotic bacteria.[3] Overcooking food can break down fiber.

• Raw fruits and vegetables contain higher amounts of vitamin C, a vitamin that has been associated with stronger immunity and a healthier heart. Vitamin C is highly vulnerable to oxygenation and heat. Cooking tomatoes, for example, for just 2 minutes reduces their vitamin C content by 10%.[4]

• Raw cruciferous vegetables – like broccoli and kale – have higher amounts of the enzyme myrosinase that helps your body break down compounds in broccoli to produce sulforophane.[5] This special sulfur compound has been linked to boosting your body’s detox system and fighting cancer.

• One study showed the luteolin in sweet peppers decreased by almost half when grilled. [6] Luteolin has been linked to helping with health challenges ranging from multiple sclerosis to memory loss.

• Many phytonutrients like the deep red betaine in beets or the anthocyanins in blackberries and blueberries leach out when cooked.

• The polyphenols in carrots, linked to fighting heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are lost with cooking.[7]

Eating more raw foods helps us get some of these nutrients that would otherwise be lost in the cooking process.

The Big Nutritional Problem Posed By A Raw Food Diet

However, while most of us can benefit from eating more raw fruits and vegetables, an exclusively raw food diet has some limitations and drawbacks. The researchers in the 2014 BMJ study noted that the benefits from increasing consumption of raw fruits and vegetables stopped being significant after 5 servings a day.

Also, some important phytonutrients increase in availability when cooked. While carrots keep their polyphenols when raw, we get more beta-carotene from them cooked. Indole, a cancer-fighting compound in broccoli and its cousins, is only available through cooking. And the availability of the red antioxidant in tomatoes, lycopene, increases exponentially when tomatoes are cooked.[8]

And while getting more fruits and vegetables in your diet can help your heart, depending on them alone can put you at a greater risk for cognitive problems and cardiovascular disease.

A study in the American Journal of Nutritional Sciences showed that a strict vegan raw food diet yielded lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels overall. But the vegan participants were also low on high-density cholesterol (the healthy one), vitamin B12 and had high levels of the heart-disease risk factor, homocysteine.[9]

• The low levels of B12, found primarily in animal products, are likely the reason for this health risk increase. B12 plays a critical role in heart health, impacting how your blood clots and how flexible your arteries are.

• This potential B12 deficiency has also been linked to brain health problems. One study tracking elderly participants over a 5-year period found that the participants who ate no animal products were 6 times more likely to experience brain shrinkage and had the most dramatic brain shrinkage within the group.[10] Researchers attributed this problem to B12 deficiency.

However, you can boost your B12 levels using the algae, chlorella. To find out more about the research and read the rest of the article, please go here:

If you’re eager to increase your raw foods intake and want some inspiration for doing so, Steve is hosting a special raw food preparation session at the Los Angeles Whole Foods Market located at 3rd and Fairfax, from 5-6 PM on January 29th. Come join us as we watch him work his magic. He’ll show you how to convert the energy of raw foods in powerful energy for your body.

And by using generous doses of chlorella in his non-cooking ventures, he makes sure you get the full nutrition your body needs as well.

[1] Factor S. Why Cleanse. Pure Energy Factor website.
[2] Wang X et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ 2014;349:g4490
[3] Cholesterol: Top 5 Foods To Lower Your Numbers. Mayo Clinic website. Viewed 1/15/15 at
[4] Subramanian S. Fact or Fiction: Raw Veggies Are Healthier Than Cooked Ones. Scientific American. March 31, 2009.
[5] Van Eylen D et al. Kinetics of the Stability of Broccoli (Brassica oleracea Cv. Italica) Myrosinase and Isothiocyanates in Broccoli Juice during Pressure/Temperature Treatments. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2007, 55 (6), pp 2163–2170
[6] Inci Durucasu and Ozlem Tokusoglu, 2007. Effects of Grilling on Luteolin (3`,4`,5,7-tetrahydroxyflavone) Content in Sweet Green Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum). Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 10: 3410-3414.
[7] D’Archivio M et al. Bioavailability of the Polyphenols: Status and Controversies. Int J Mol Sci. 2010; 11(4): 1321–1342.
[8] Subramanian S. Fact or Fiction: Raw Veggies Are Healthier Than Cooked Ones. Scientific American. March 31, 2009.
[9] Koebnick C et al. Long-Term Consumption of a Raw Food Diet Is Associated with Favorable Serum LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides but Also with Elevated Plasma Homocysteine and Low Serum HDL Cholesterol in Humans. J. Nutr. October 1, 2005 vol. 135 no. 10 2372-2378
[10] Vogiatzoglou A, et al. Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly. Neurology 2008; 71(11): 826-32

About Michael E. Rosenbaum, MD
Dr. Rosenbaum is a 30-year veteran and widely recognized pioneer in the field of nutritional medicine, alternative healthcare and medical acupuncture. As one of America’s most respected experts in natural health and healing, Dr. Rosenbaum has been a frequent lecturer to professional medical groups and has participated in numerous television and radio talk shows. He is also an esteemed member of the Sun Chlorella Advisory Board, which helps guide the medical innovation behind Sun Chlorella products.

About Sun Chlorella USA

Sun Chlorella USA offers the finest quality chlorella products for anti-aging, weight maintenance, energy, heart, brain & digestive system, as well as overall health and wellness for both people and pets.

Michael Rosenbaum