Raw Food And Mental Clarity: A Clearer Mind Through Nutrition

  • Tina Wing Yiu SoBachelor of Social Sciences in Psychology – BSScH in Psychology, Hong Kong Metropolitan University
  • Irenosen AddehMaster of Science (MSc), Public Health, University of Debrecen, Hungary

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Since the years of COVID-19, brain fog has become a more concerning problem. While cloudy-headed feelings and forgetfulness can adversely impact our cognitive abilities to solve problems and make decisions in this fast-paced society.1 Mental clarity emphasises a clearly perceptive and organised mind. It raises awareness of its great importance in managing our lives decently, thus promoting overall well-being

Among the various lifestyle factors that would affect our cognitive function, nutrition is an often neglected one. In effect of the mind-body connection, shown in our gut-brain axis, food and nutritional intake would be crucial in supporting our brain health and cognitive functions.2 A raw food diet has gained awareness of its benefits to our physical well-being, in addition to its potential impact on mental clarity. This article aims to explore the connection between raw food and a clear mind, contributing to relevant nutrients. 

If you are struggling to be productive and decisive in life, continue reading this may provide you some insights into how a raw food diet could help to alleviate your distress. 

Overview of mental clarity

Mental clarity refers to a psychological state consisting of complete alertness and involvement, clear and focused thinking, free from confusion and distractions. Crucial for productivity and fulfilment, despite getting things organised and well-prioritised. Clarity of mind can also help us to reduce unnecessary thoughts, and be resilient to self-doubts and criticism, in order to enhance our goal-oriented mindset regardless of hardships, thus maximising our efficiency and effectiveness. 

While the absence of mental clarity (as known as mental/brain fog), is not considered a specific medical condition, which every one of us might have experienced some in our lifetime. 

Lifestyle factors for mental clarity

Contributing factors in lack of mental clarity are typical as follows: 

  • Sleep deprivation 
  • Lack of exercise 
  • Electromagnetic radiation (from computers, mobile phones, and tablets) 
  • Stress and anxiety 
  • Poor nutrition
  • Toxins, pollutions, chemicals substances, and insecticides 

Signs of mental fog

Signs of lack of mental clarity (or brain fog) can be classified into the followings:

  • Physical: Exacerbated sleep disruptions/insomnia; headaches; energy deprivation/fatigue
  • Cognitive: Difficulty focusing, cluttered mind, forgetfulness, excessive absences 
  • Emotional: Sense of physically/mentally drained; Low self-esteem, depression (imposter syndrome in severe case); loneliness 
  • Social: Diminished interest/motivation in activities; sense of loneliness and isolation; poor work performance 

Understanding raw food diet

Raw food diet is a dietary approach that emphasises the consumption of 50%-100% uncooked, unprocessed food. It typically includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, plus fermented and sprouted grains and beans. Served by a few preparation methods, including:

  • Blending 
  • Drying up (no more than 48° C/118°F)
  • Juicing
  • Soaking 
  • Sprouting

Among variations, the foremost principle is to consume food in its natural state, without processing or heating (above 48° C/118°F), that would change their structure.3


While a raw food diet is primarily plant-based, people around the world would still approach it differently. Amidst the varied raw food proportion, there are three main subtypes:

  • Raw vegan: Most common type, with completely raw and vegan (without animal-based) food choices
  • Raw vegetarian: Raw and unprocessed food, with eggs and dairy products, excluding meat, fish, poultry
  • Raw omnivorous: All plant and animal-based foods, including meat, in raw and unprocessed manner

Raw food and mental clarity 

Despite raw food diet has potential advantages to physical health, better weight management, clean skin, and improved gut health. It also has positive effects on cognitive functioning.3

Connections between nutrition and cognitive function

The impact of our food choices on mental well-being is primarily attributed to the influence of dietary patterns on the gut microbiome. This term encompasses the multitude of microbial organisms residing in the human gut, including bacteria, viruses, and archaea. These microorganisms engage in bidirectional communication with the brain through neural, inflammatory, and hormonal signalling pathways.4

The adverse neurocognitive effects associated with this interaction have been demonstrated to stem from low-grade inflammation resulting from a compromised mucus layer, whether or not accompanied by increased epithelial permeability. This compromised gut barrier function is commonly referred to as "leaky gut".4

Benefits of raw food on cognitive functioning

Improved nutrient intake 

Raw food diets, with fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are usually abundant in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are essential for optimal brain health. Consuming a wide variety of raw foods can provide your brain with essential components for optimal cognitive function, thus imposing a positive impact on mental clarity.3 

Enzymes aiding digestion

Raw foods contain natural enzymes that aid digestion and absorption of nutrients. While being supportive of digestion, with promising effectiveness in breaking down and absorbing nutrients needed for cognitive functions. Improved digestion can help reduce brain fog and improve mental clarity.3 

Reduction of processed food 

Raw food diet often emphasises the consumption of unprocessed food. Their elimination of processed food can help to minimise additives and preservatives intake. By lessening the immune and inflammatory response in both the gut and brain, a raw food diet can thus help improve mental clarity.4 

Antioxidant protection 

Raw fruits and vegetables (especially in different colours) predominantly contain an abundance of antioxidants. While antioxidants help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in brain cells (as a primary cause of brain fog), consumption of raw foods can thus benefit one’s cognitive functioning.5


Many raw foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, possess high water content. While proper hydration is crucial for optimal brain function, mental clarity can therefore be promoted. 

Stable blood sugar level 

Raw foods rich in fibre and low in refined carbohydrates can help stabilise blood sugar levels. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can induce brain fog and reduce mental clarity. Consuming raw foods can help maintain and improve mental clarity.3

Key nutrients for mental clarity

Omega-3 fatty acids 

Ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids can help increase blood flow to the brain, thus promoting learning, memory, and cognitive well-being.6

  • Raw food sources 
    • Walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, edamame, seaweed, and algae
    • B vitamins (1,2,3, 6,9,12) 

B vitamins play an important role in brain health, by boosting neurotransmitter production and preventing dementia. 

  • Raw Food Sources 
    • Whole grains, fruits, vegetables (especially leafy greens), beans (legumes) 
    • Antioxidants

Antioxidants are beneficial in combating oxidative stress to slow down or cease inflammatory responses in brain cells. 

  • Raw Food sources 
    • Leafy greens (turnip, mustard, beet, collards), fruits, bell pepper (all colours), seeds and nuts, barley, brown rice 
    • Magnesium

Magnesium is involved in metabolic regulation and homeostatic maintenance of all tissues, including the brain. It harmonises nerve signalling, and transmission, and preserves the blood-brain barrier integrity.7 

  • Raw Food source
    • Leafy green vegetables, seeds and nuts (Pumpkin seed, almonds, cashews, peanuts); boiled spinach, cereal, dark chocolate 

Tips for incorporating raw food into your diet 

Start with fresh produces 

Choose high-quality, fresh fruits and vegetables. Look for local sources and organic options, for the possible balance of optimal flavour and nutritional content. 

Gradual transition 

Start by incorporating small amounts into your meal and increase the proportion over time, allowing time for your body to adjust. 

Experiment with salads, smoothies and juices 

While salad can be a fantastic way to incorporate raw food into a diet, smoothies and juices are also excellent ways to combine raw fruits and vegetables to boost nutrition intake. Nonetheless, these are also brilliant ways to explore the combinations and varieties for a more enjoyable experience. 

Raw food recipes

Explore raw food recipes on cookbooks, websites or magazines to enrich yourself with the combinations and varieties for tasty raw snacks and meals. 

Listen to your body 

Be aware of the signs and symptoms coming out of your body. Be flexible and make adjustments accordingly. Your body needs time to adapt to changes. Don’t rush. 

Potential challenges and considerations 

Nutritional deficiencies 

Deficiencies of vitamin B12, calcium and iodine are common due to the lack of meat and seafood consumption. Be aware of having a well-rounded diet of raw food or take dietary supplements when necessary.8

Digestive issues

Raw food can be difficult to digest and might cause bloating, gases and other digestive discomfort. Adopting a gradual transit and chewing them thoroughly can help to reduce the burden on your digestive system. 

Food safety concerns 

Raw food, especially animal products, are more prone to foodborne illnesses. Handle safely,wash products thoroughly, and be mindful of cross-contamination. Populations with compromised immune systems, pregnant, children and elderly should take extra precautions.

Availability and seasonality

Due to geographical differences, gathering a wide variety of fresh, high-quality raw products year-round may be challenging. Familiarize yourself with the sourcing, to get prepared in advance and make adjustments accordingly.

Social and practical considerations 

Following a raw food diet can pose social and practical challenges, especially when dining out or attending social gatherings. Restaurants and social events might have limited raw food options to choose from. Communicating your dietary needs and searching for accommodations is important. 


What is a raw food diet?

A raw food diet is a primarily plant-based dietary approach that specifies the consumption of uncooked and unprocessed food. Its first and foremost principle is to consume food in its natural status without heating or processing it over 48° C. 

How does nutrition impact the brain and mental health?

Nutrition plays a crucial role in brain function and mental health, as it provides necessary nutrients for optimal brain development, neurotransmitter production and neural pathway maintenance. Imbalances or deficiencies in key nutrients can contribute to cognitive impairments, mood disorders, and increased vulnerability to mental health conditions. 

How do foods affect your mental clarity?

While nutrition-dense food can provide essential nutrients in supporting brain health and cognitive functioning, it's important to be aware of the detrimental effects of processed and refined foods high in sugars and unhealthy fats. These foods can accelerate inflammation and oxidative stress, impairing cognitive functions, and inducing brain fog.

How can I regain my mental clarity?

Regarding nutrition, incorporating raw fruits, vegetables, and foods abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, antioxidants, and magnesium can be beneficial. Additionally, making lifestyle adjustments, including regular physical exercise, proper hydration, and the adoption of self-care practices, are also proven to be effective.


Linked up by gut microbiomes, this article has explored the potential benefits of a raw food diet in promoting mental clarity and overall well-being. Raw food lovers advocate that consuming uncooked, unprocessed and primarily plant-based food can provide essential nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants that nourish the brain and support nerve transduction.

By avoiding processed and refined food, relevant to inflammation and impaired cognitive function, individuals on a raw food diet can potentially experience mental clarity, improved mental focus and increased energy levels. Meanwhile, why not start to be more mindful in exploring and experimenting with our dietary choices for a clearer mind and overall well-being! 


  1. Goldstein EB. Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research, and everyday experience. 5th ed. Boston, Ma, USA: Cengage; 2019.
  2. Lyte M, Cryan JF. Microbial Endocrinology: The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Health and Disease. New York, NY Springer New York; 2014.
  3. Raba DN, Iancu T, Bordean DM, Adamov T, Popa VM, Pîrvulescu LC. Pros and Cons of Raw Vegan Diet. Advanced Research in Life Sciences. 2019 Jan 1;3(1):46–51.
  4. Firth J, Gangwisch JE, Borisini A, Wootton RE, Mayer EA. Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing? BMJ [Internet]. 2020 Jun 29;369(1). Available from: https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m2382.
  5. Franzoni F, Scarfò G, Guidotti S, Fusi J, Asomov M, Pruneti C. Oxidative Stress and Cognitive Decline: The Neuroprotective Role of Natural Antioxidants. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2021 Oct 13;15. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8548611/ 
  6. Dighriri IM, Alsubaie AM, Hakami FM, Hamithi DM, Alshekh MM, Khobrani FA, et al. Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Brain Functions: A Systematic Review. Cureus. 2022 Oct 9;14(10). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9641984/#:~:text=Participants%20who%20received%20omega%2D3,blood%20flow%20in%20the%20brain
  7. Maier JAM, Locatelli L, Fedele G, Cazzaniga A, Mazur A. Magnesium and the Brain: a Focus on Neuroinflammation and Neurodegeneration. International Journal of Molecular Sciences [Internet]. 2023 Jan 1 [cited 2023 Feb 22];24(1):223. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/24/1/223
  8. Neufingerl N, Eilander A. Nutrient Intake and Status in Adults Consuming Plant-Based Diets Compared to Meat-Eaters: a Systematic Review. Nutrients [Internet]. 2021 Dec 23;14(1):29. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8746448/

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Tina Wing Yiu So

Bachelor of Social Sciences in Psychology – BSScH in Psychology, Hong Kong Metropolitan University

Having graduated with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Psychology, Tina has developed a solid academic foundation in the understanding of human mind and behaviour. Complemented by her personal experiences in face of mobility challenges since a very young age, Tina is fascinated by positive psychology, counseling, neuroscience, and health and wellness, which she is continuously expanding her knowledge on the relevant fields.

Whilst preparing herself for her future career, with deep curiosity and strong belief in the holistic approach to well-being. Tina aims to empower individuals through her writings by sharing her knowledge, to provide insightful and evidence-based content in promoting mental and physical health.

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