Eating a diet that’s made up completely of raw food may seem an extreme lifestyle choice, but an increasing number of people are choosing to eat raw for the health benefits that un-processed and un-cooked foods offer.
Even if you don’t want to convert to a totally raw food diet, there are benefits to be found from eating some foods in their un-cooked state. Here are 10 foods that you should be eating raw to make the most out of their amazing health benefits.
Packed full of disease-fighting antioxidants, these fantastic little berries are a popular superfood that offer a number of health benefits. Cooking blueberries reduces their nutritional benefits, so eat them raw in salads, smoothies, with cereal or just by the handful for a healthy snack.
Beets are a great source of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including the B vitamin folate which is incredibly beneficial to pregnant women. However, when beets are cooked they lose a whopping 25 per cent of their folate, so eating them raw is so much better. Try them juiced, or grated in salads to make the most of their natural goodness.
3. Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic are full of the phytonutrient allicin, which is what makes your eyes water when you chop onions, and allicin has a wealth of health benefits that include fighting diseases. When onions and garlic are cooked their allicin levels diminish, so eating them raw is the best option.
If you struggle with eating strong onions in their raw state, try milder varieties, but remember that the stronger the onion, the higher the allicin levels in it.
Another brilliant superfood, raw broccoli contains myrosinase, an enzyme which helps to protect against cancer. The cooking process significantly diminishes the myrosinase in the vegetable, so broccoli is best eaten raw in salads or with a low-fat dip.
5. Leafy greens
We all know that leafy greens are good for you, because they’re chock full of vitamins, minerals and health-boosting enzymes. Cooking your greens may make them slightly easier to digest, but it also removes many of the health benefits to be found from eating them. Try your greens juiced with other fruit and vegetables, or in a tasty leafy salad.
6. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamins and minerals, and eating a handful raw as a snack is a great way to boost your daily nutrition. They can also be scattered over cereals, salads and pasta dishes.
Cacao, the raw form of chocolate, is a fantastic source of antioxidants, and is also believed to protect the heart. Raw cacao nibs can be bought from health food stores, and eaten as a snack or mixed in with trail mix, cereals and yoghurt.
Seaweed is full of vitamins and minerals, like many more traditional green leafy vegetables, and contains great cleansing properties. If you’re a sushi fan then you’re probably already eating raw seaweed, Nori, but it can also be used in salads, as a juice or made into noodles.