It is often said that digestion begins in the mouth with chewing, but applying gentle heat actually starts the breakdown of the food. In fact, the reason we started cooking so many generations ago was to make food easier to digest. Cooking is an important part of releasing the nutrients available so our bodies can turn them into fuel for our daily lives.
People with a very strong agni, digestive fire, who live in a warm climate and eat in a balanced way may find that they are able to digest raw foods, but for the majority of us, eating too many raw foods overtaxes our digestion. When our bodies can’t digest the food we take in, the excess ferments in our intestines. This creates toxins and weakens agni, making it harder to attain true health.
The most significant health issue that comes up from eating too much raw food is an aggravation of vata dosha. This results in a number of health issues, including mental fogginess, gas, constipation, emaciation, fine tremors, anxiety and much more. Most people living in modern society are already vata aggravated from excessive plane travel, screen time and abundant fear, so eating raw foods can make these issues even more pervasive.