The fast paced lifestyle of today leaves no time to look after our bodies and our health. Unhealthy routines, sleep deprivation, stress and unwholesome eating habits have given way to problems like obesity, diabetes, cardiac issues and weakening of the immune system.
Lack of physical activity and a heavy dependence on processed and convenience foods has also majorly contributed to health problems. According to a research on the impact of fast food on immunity, the typical western diet includes high amounts of saturated fats, omega-6 fatty acids, excessive salt and refined sugar. A routine diet that is rich in such content can damage the heart and kidneys immensely. (Myles, 2014)
Additionally, you are exposed to a number of harmful toxins everyday at home and at work, through the air you breathe and the food you eat. A weakened immune system is thus, prone to chronic allergies, frequent colds and is unable to defend the body against viruses. An unhealthy diet can make your body deficient of vitamins, trace minerals and carotenoids and can weaken immune response. (Langseth, 1999)
What your body needs is a thorough cleansing to improve your health and to strengthen your immune system. A few alterations to the diet can positively impact your health in the long run. Going raw can considerably lower the risk of contracting chronic diseases.
Cooking fruits and vegetables can destroy the micronutrients present in them. Therefore, consuming raw fruits is the best way to detoxify and cleanse the system. Read on to know how a raw diet can help you.
Nonnutrient bioactive plant compounds; phytochemicals are found in vegetables, fruits and grains. They are known to reduce the risk of severe chronic diseases and help protect the cellular system of the body from oxidative damage.
Phytochemicals are present in a number of diverse forms in plants and organic foods. Carotenoids and flavonoids are two such forms. Carotenoids are orange, red and yellow compounds usually found in fruits and vegetables. Common examples are B-carotene and lycopene.
On the other hand, all organic foods contain flavonoids, which are responsible for the blue and red colors in plants, fruits and vegetables, and are credited for some typical flavors as well. (Langseth, 1999)
According to research, phytochemicals play a key role in preventing a disease in the colon, lung, oral cavity, cervix, breast, esophagus, stomach, bladder, ovary and pancreas. Out of 156 dietary studies, 128 studies concluded that fruits and vegetables have a crucial protective effect on the human body. The intake of foods with high content of phytochemicals also lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases. (Liu, 2003)
Vitamins & Trace Minerals
Found in fruits and vegetables, vitamins and trace minerals contribute greatly to strengthen the immune system. They offer a 3-way defense mechanism; support to physical barriers, antibody production and cellular immunity.
Vitamins A, C, and E and the trace element Zinc, enhance and aid the function of the skin and mucosa barrier. Vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D and E and folic acid along with trace elements zinc, copper, selenium and iron work together to aid the immune cells’ protective activities. Moreover, all these micronutrients, except iron and Vitamin C are significant for antibody production. (S., Wintergerst, Beveridge, & Hornig, 2007)
Vitamins, trace minerals and phytochemicals can help strengthen the immune system and protect the body against diseases. However, a low intake of phytochemicals, vitamins and trace minerals can lead to malnutrition and make the body prone to infections. Thus, eating raw fruits and veggies is a good way to get the required amount of nutrients without destroying them.
Langseth, L. (1999). NUTRITION AND IMMUNITY IN MAN. International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). http://www.ilsi.org/Europe/Publications/C1999Nut_Imm.pdf
Liu, R. H. (2003). Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals1,2,3,4. The Amercian Journal of Clinical Nutrition. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/475s.full
Myles, I. A. (2014). Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity. U.S. National Library of Medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4074336/
S., M., W. E., B. S., & H. D. (2007). Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses. U.S National Library of Medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17922955