You try to eat healthily and maybe even organic. However, did you know that after you buy nutritious fruits and vegetables, you still might be missing out the essential vitamins and minerals? It all depends on how you prepare and cook them. In fact, it is best if you just leave some things to nature and eat them raw. Check out these ten healthy raw foods you should be eating.
Although a handful of roasted cashews is delicious, the cooking process strips nuts from iron and magnesium. Full of oils, it automatically raises the amount of fat and calories, too. You should eat peanuts, pecans, and pistachios in their rawest forms to reap the nutritional benefits of this healthy snack.
According to both Cornell University studies and cases published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, raw onions are much healthier than cooked ones. They might make your eyes tear up, but the sulfur compounds and antioxidants fight cancer. Another key ingredient in raw onions is allicin, which promotes a healthy heart and helps curb your hunger. If you cannot stand the thought of eating a raw onion, you can try a juice option.
Red Bell Peppers
Did you know that one medium-sized red bell pepper has over 150% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C? However, if you cook it above 375 degrees, peppers lose this health benefit. The National Institutes of Health published research that linked eating raw red bell peppers to fighting against a common arterial ailment known as atherosclerosis, which might eventually lead to cardiovascular disease. Keep in mind that Vitamin C, in general, is sensitive to heat. If you refuse to eat them raw, try to sauté or grill them very quickly to prevent losing the vitamin.
Consuming beets in their natural form is healthier than cooking them. The red beetroot has a plethora of vitamins and minerals from potassium and fiber to manganese and folate. The combination of nutrients can help boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, and fight inflammation. However, when you heat them up, beets lose a quarter of healthy folate. Since chomping on a root might seem a little unappetizing at first, try adding a few to a raw salad with carrots, apples, and a lime dressing. After all, beets do have a sweet taste thanks to their high sugar content.
According to the Journal of Medicinal food, raw seaweed is actually made up of mostly water. This edible alga, along with nori, is extremely rich in chlorophyll. It also has iron, calcium, and iodine, which are all easily absorbed by the bloodstream being water-soluble minerals. Although the idea of both raw and cooked seaweed might make you think twice, you should give it a try; you might surprise yourself.
Ready-made fruit and vegetable juices are usually packed with unhealthy additives like preservatives, colors, and sweeteners. Instead of having to read the label, only to be disappointed, you should mix your own juices. Homemade drinks using raw, fresh fruits and veggies are the way to go. You will know exactly what you are putting into your body. Depending on the foods blended, you will reap the benefits of not only hydrating your body but also detoxifying it while improving your digestion and increasing your energy.
This sweet treat has a good side. If you enjoy chocolate, try to find raw cacao. It is rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals that cause cell damage and aging. Chocolate in the most natural form can also boost your mood through increased serotonin and lower your blood pressure. Cacao nibs, which are a part of the raw bean, are cooked into cocoa. After being processed and roasted, cocoa does not have the same health benefits.
According to research from Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, drinking coconut water is better than sugary sports drinks. Raw coconuts have one of the highest levels of electrolytes. The American Institute for Cancer Research also explains how this refreshing beverage is also an excellent source of potassium and magnesium. Dried or cooked coconuts, especially with sweeteners, lack these minerals.
This small fruit is packed with antioxidants; more than any other fruit in fact. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published research that linked blueberries to high levels of polyphenols. The Journal of Food Science published research that connected processed blueberries to having altered polyphenol levels. Even though you might like them cooked in pies, they are the healthiest raw.
You probably already know broccoli is healthy for you. This green veggie is rich in calcium, potassium protein, and vitamin C. It also has those same sulforaphane compounds that help fight cancer, improve the heart, and lower your blood pressure. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, research shows that eating it raw will help your body absorb sulforaphane more quickly. Not only that but in higher amounts compared to cooked broccoli. However, since heating levels do not deplete the vegetable of sulforaphane altogether, you can still steam or bake broccoli. Boiling it, though, can reduce its nutritious value significantly. This healthy veggie also contains goitrogens, which regulate thyroid hormone production, but when broccoli is cooked, it loses the effects.