Trying to maintain a healthy diet doesnâ€™t have to be hard work. Did you know that there are many raw foods that you can eat which actually provide you with more nutrition than they do when cooked?
Next time youâ€™re looking for a quick snack or trying to think of something that you can take with you for a lunch away from home, try out some of these raw foods. They need minimum preparation and have plenty of great benefits for your body if you eat them regularly.
1. Fermented Vegetables
Fermented vegetables are easy for the body to absorb and digest because the fermentation process pre-digests the starches in these foods. They also have many enzymes and probiotics to boost your immune system, and improve nutrient absorption.
You can ferment many vegetables, including kale, carrots, cucumbers, celery, and cabbage. Ginger and garlic make great spices when fermenting vegetables.
Tempeh is a fermented food, as is the Korean favorite kim chee along with raw kefir or yogurt. Note that commercial kefirs and yogurts are not advised, as they are often loaded with sugars that destroy the beneficial bacteria.
You can use them in salads, soups, main dishes or as compliments to main dishes and they add great flavor. Some people even e njoy eating them on their own.
Raw honey provides two key beneficial components, bee pollen, and propolis. It is a unique blend of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Raw honey contains antioxidants called phenolic compounds, and some types contain as many of these essential free radical fighting agents as vegetables and fruit.
Free radicals are known contributors to aging, and increasing risk factors of cancer, heart disease and other chronic medical conditions. Numerous studies have shown the polyphenols found in honey to play a key role in preventing heart disease.
Phytonutrients are compounds in plants that protect them from external harm, and they do the same for the human body, as they have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Phytonutrients are only found in raw honey as they are destroyed in any type of heavy processing of food.
Honey can be used as a healthy substitute to sugar and is a popular choice for many people when dieting. If you include a teaspoon in your daily diet, you will be able to enjoy many benefits, as it is high in sugar and calories, so moderation is key.
If youâ€™re wondering how you could eat more honey in your diet, you could try using it to sweeten tea or coffee, spreading it on toast or adding a few drops to your morning berries.
Raw coconut provides a wide variety of nutritional benefits as compared to the dried or processed form. Coconut water is a natural form of sports drink because of its natural ability to hydrate and replace electrolytes, and it is also rich in potassium, sodium, and magnesium. The above is not true of dried, processed, or sweetened coconut.
Moderation is key however, as coconut is high in calories, but it does have less sugar carbs in the same portion as apples.
Blueberries are really tasty and full of antioxidants that fight free radicals to prevent chronic disease. They are high in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6 and very low in calories and sugar.
If you need something sweet for a quick pick-me-up, instead of reaching for the chocolates, try a handful of blueberries.
For extra convenience, you can purchase frozen blueberries, which will keep for longer. Stock up when theyâ€™re more affordable and enjoy the benefits.
Some people love sprouts, while others absolutely hate them. Theyâ€™re actually very healthy and if you want to improve your overall health, you should try to get used to eating them raw.
Sprouts are vegetables that are still in the growth stage, and because of this, they have high levels of nutrients, key enzymes and numerous vitamins, all ready to be digested by the human body.
For example, alfalfa sprouts have vitamins A, B, C, and E, Calcium, Carotene, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, and Chlorophyll.
If youâ€™re a vegetarian and you need more protein in your diet, sprouts are a great source of protein too.
If you donâ€™t like the taste of them raw, why not make a green smoothie and flavor it with other healthy ingredients.
6. Raw Broccoli
Eating raw broccoli helps fight cancer, as chewing of this raw super plant food allows you to access a cancer-fighting compound known as myrosinase, which is easily killed off in the cooking process. Eating broccoli sprouts doubles your intake of anticancer properties.
Freshly raw chopped garlic contains the enzyme alliinase that converts alliin into allicin, which is what creates the specific aroma of fresh garlic and also helps to improve your health. According to the University Of Maryland Medical Center, allicin has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
Moreover, fresh raw garlic releases a short-lived gas known as hydrogen sulfide that acts as an intracellular signaling compound that protects the heart. Cooking, processing, and drying destroy this valuable compound.
While many love to eat oil-roasted nuts, the cooking process reduces valuable nutrients, such as iron and magnesium and also adds extra calories and fat.
9. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers contain about 150% of the daily-recommended value of vitamin C, but the National Institutes of Health warns that this vital nutrient breaks down when the peppers are cooked at or above 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Eating raw red peppers also helps prevent atherosclerosis that leads to heart disease.
A Cornell University study found that raw onions contain sulphur compounds, and cancer-fighting antioxidants that are only present in their juice. These nutrients help protect against lung and prostate cancer.