ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Brazilian Mint Tea Naturally Good for Pain Relief
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
CANCER
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
CAREGIVING
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
FITNESS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Run for Your Life
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
MENTAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
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The Raw Food Diet

The raw food diet typically includes fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, seaweeds, and super foods (spirulina, blue-green algae, goji berries, maca, cacao, and wheatgrass, among others) but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring and bland. These days, you can indulge in a fruit smoothie with soaked flax seeds, bananas, fresh fruit and dates or zucchini and mango slices topped with a Thai nut curry cream and coconut noodles. As more and more people shift towards vegetarian- or vegan-based diets, the popularity and awareness of eating raw foods is increasing. The seemingly inconvenient and restrictive nature of eating this way is often outweighed by the established health benefits. These include improved digestion, more energy, clearer skin, better focus, improved memory, weight loss, detoxification, and a stronger immune system. Some critics do question the bioavailability of certain nutrients in raw foods, the natural toxins present in some raw foods, and the risk of low bone mass. But it seems most are in agreement over the positive benefits of incorporating more whole, unprocessed foods as the staple of a healthy diet. In this regard, eating raw foods can certainly improve overall health and wellness.
Enzymes are considered the life force of food.

Raw foodists believe in eating an uncooked, unprocessed, and organic plant based diet. This means no foods heated over 116 degrees. The reason is that enzymes in food are destroyed at this temperature, even starting to degrade at 105 degrees. Enzymes are required for the reactions that aid in the digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food. Since cooked food is devoid of natural enzymes, your body must recruit its own reserve. This source may be unreliable or insufficient for these tasks. As a result, your body must expend more energy to extract the nutrients from cooked foods. In addition, cooking can change the molecular structure of food – especially if using a microwave. Cooking foods at high temperatures can create toxic by-products, adding to the load our bodies already face from living in a toxic environment. Consuming foods that are closer to your body temperate is also beneficial because there is no shock to the system that can occur when consuming piping hot foods, soups and beverages.
A few question the effects of a completely raw diet.

Generally speaking, raw foods have a higher nutritive value. Though, there are debates over the bioavailability of some nutrients from raw foods. Lycopene, which has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of prostate and lung cancer, is only available from cooked versus raw tomatoes. Carotenoids, well known as antioxidants, are more available from cooked versus raw carrots. A second issue with raw foods is the natural toxins present in some edible plants that would usually be destroyed by cooking. For example, canavanine (found in alfalfa sprouts) can be harmful to the immune system and psoralens (found in celery) can sensitize the skin to the harmful effects of UV rays. Our bodies do have innate defenses against these natural toxins but may not be as efficient considering all the other toxins we process. A final concern with raw foods is based on the results of a study in the March 28, 2005 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine which showed that vegetarians who eat only raw foods have abnormally low bone mass – but other markers for bone health among the raw foods group were normal. On a positive note, the raw foods group consumed fewer calories than the control group and had a body mass index (BMI) averaging 20 (in the normal range) compared to just over 25 (considered overweight) in the control group.
Thinking about going raw?

The best way to know if a raw food diet is appropriate for your body is to experiment by slowly adding more raw foods to your current diet and observing how your body feels. Even raw-food purists like David Wolfe say most people can gain the benefits of raw foods while enjoying some cooked varieties. "Even a diet that is 70 to 80 percent raw will give people so many health benefits," he says, "that they may not need to go further." Remember to start slow because a sensitive digestive tract may need time to adjust to the intensity of a more nutrient-rich raw food diet. Having success with your transition to raw foods is more dependent on a positive state of mind than a kitchen full of equipment. The truth is that you don’t need more than a good wet/dry food processor, the rest are merely for convenience. Shifting back to eating foods the way nature created them is more harmonious on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Angela Stokes, an inspirational raw foodist says, "Let's not forget that one of the main joys of a raw lifestyle is that it's about simplifying – getting back to a simple, natural way of living."

-Dr. Christine Gonzalez (Integrative PharmD, CHC)