You probably already know that a ripe, red apple is a much healthier choice than a sugar-filled piece of chocolate cake. That much is common sense, and for some people it’s enough to keep them on track with maintaining a healthy diet.
But for those who may be looking to take their health to the next level, understanding the best ways to prepare certain foods is key to maximizing their nutritional benefits. With certain foods, baking, boiling, steaming, grilling, or roasting them supercharges their nutritional contents so your body can take in more.
On the contrary, cooking other foods does the opposite – making it much more difficult for your body to absorb the vitamins and minerals compared to eating them raw. While some veggies might seem tastier (and easier to chew) after they’ve been roasted with some olive oil and sprinkled with a bit of seasoning, you could be sacrificing nutrition for taste without even realizing it.
Take a look through the following list of foods to find out which ones are better to eat raw and why, with links to delicious recipes you can try for each one!
The red beet root may be a vegetable with high sugar content, but its nutritional properties completely make up for it. Beets are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and the B vitamin folate, which offers a range of health benefits that can boost your immune system, improve your stamina, fight inflammation, lower your blood pressure, and even prevent cancer.
When you cook beets they can lose as much as 25 percent of their folate (a healthy brain compound that helps reduce the risk of birth defects during fetal development). It may take some time getting used to munching on beets in their raw state, so try this mixed salad made with raw beets, carrots, apples, and ginger lime dressing for a nice added flavor.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that should be a top item on your grocery list. With a seemingly endless offering of nutritional benefits, this superstar veggie is not only packed with vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and protein… it also contains sulforaphane – a compound found to fight cancer cells, lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and provide antioxidants that help with anti-aging and immunity.
According to a study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, people who consumed broccoli raw absorbed sulforaphane more quickly and in higher amounts compared to people who consumed it cooked. Try this incredibly simple and delicious raw broccoli soup recipe for something different than the typical raw broccoli salad.
Believe it or not, the same stuff that makes you tear up when you cut onions is the same stuff you want to consume more of to improve your health. Called allicin, this phytonutrient helps curb hunger, prevent cancer, promote cardiovascular health, and reduce high blood pressure. You get more of it when you eat onions raw as opposed to eating them cooked.
Make sure to include both red and yellow onions for a natural does of quercetin – a bioflavonoid that has anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties to help you fight off all sorts of nasty viruses, including the common cold. Try them with this raw onion wraps recipe.