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10 Foods You May Not Know that Are Healthier to Eat Raw

10 Foods You May Not Know that Are Healthier to Eat Raw

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!

1. Beets

    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.

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    2. Broccoli

      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.

      3. Onions

        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.

        4. Red Bell Peppers

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          Citrus fruits are often what first comes to mind when you think of vitamin C, but red bell peppers should be right there with those oranges, lemons, and limes. With nearly three times the vitamin C intake you need for the day, red bell peppers are also a powerful antioxidant and a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, and magnesium.

          You may be able to get away with cooking your red bell peppers for a short time over low heat which will still maintain their sweetness, but be aware that roasting, frying, or grilling them at a temperature over 375 degrees Fahrenheit will cause their vitamin C properties to break down. Eat them raw for their full nutritional benefits. Take a look at this amazing stuffed raw pepper recipe with confetti guacamole.

          5. Nuts

            Although higher in calories compared to most other health foods, nuts are a primary source of healthy fats that can help you balance your diet. These essential fats actually help you lower your bad cholesterol, reduce your risk of developing blood clots, and promote good artery health.

            When it comes to choosing nuts, go for a variety of almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, and other types that haven’t been roasted in oil and have no added salt. Raw nuts are higher in iron, magnesium, and contain no GMO oils. When you need a quick but yummy snack, have this naked raw trail mix recipe on hand to satisfy your craving.

            6. Berries

              Adding dried berries to some mixed nuts has become a popular food trend for a fast snack that’s both sweet and salty. Unfortunately, dried berries don’t offer the same nutritional benefits as their raw counterparts.

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              Berries that have been put through a drying process may contain as much as two or three times more sugar in them, increasing their calories and carbohydrates. Because they’ve been dehydrated, they lack certain water-soluble vitamins and minerals that made them so healthy in the first place.

              Stick to fresh, raw berries to keep calories low and benefit from their nutritional value. Enjoy fresh or frozen berries for breakfast by trying this lovely looking yogurt parfait recipe.

              7. Coconut

                Coconut deserves an item of its own on this list for all the incredible benefits it has to offer. Drinking raw coconut water in large amounts can replenish fluids arguably better than regular water on its own, and the oil that comes from the coconut meat contains healthy fats that strengthen both the brain and heart.

                Skip the coconut-flavored processed stuff like bars, candies, and pastries, which fill your body with too much sugar while offering little nutritional value. Find out how to make coconut butter from raw, shredded coconut for a tasty butter substitute.

                8. Garlic

                  Garlic is one of those types of foods that’s almost always consumed cooked. Like onions, garlic contains the phytonutrient allicin, which can be consumed in higher amounts by eaten raw.

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                  A study revealed that raw garlic consumed two or more times a week produced less of a risk for developing lung cancer. You can still certainly benefit from enjoying cooked garlic — you’ll just have to eat more of it if to get the same nutrition it offers in its raw state. If you’re stumped on how to use garlic without cooking it, try this creamy garlic dressing recipe for your salads and veggies.

                  9. Juice

                    There are tons of cans and cartons and jugs of juice you can buy directly from the store that promise all sorts of amazing health benefits; but when it comes straight down to it, nothing beats buying the raw ingredients and juicing them yourself. Store bought juices undergo processing that may strip the ingredients of their nutritional value, while also adding in other chemicals, flavors, coloring, sweeteners, and preservatives.

                    Juicing from raw vegetables and fruits ensures that you’ll get a nutrient dense drink that hydrates, detoxifies, improves digestion, increases energy, and even aids in weight loss. Rather than reaching for the nearest carton at your local grocery store, trying making your own grapefruit strawberry juice from scratch.

                    10. Chocolate

                      Chocolate is truly the Jekyll and Hyde of health foods. Raw cacao is rich in antioxidants, can help lower blood pressure, increases serotonin to boost your mood, and even helps curb cravings – but pump it up with sugar, flour, oils, and other ingredients that turn your cocoa into decadent sugar bombs, and you completely undo the healthy power of this beloved super food.

                      If you can, try to get your hands on some raw cacao nibs, which are the parts of the cacao bean that are roasted and processed into cocoa. If you’re a total chocoholic, consider trying this chocolate bar recipe made with raw cacao.

                      How many foods on this list are you already eating raw? Don’t forget to check out the suggested recipes for ideas to get started if you haven’t already. And remember – whether raw or cooked, choosing any of the foods on this list over processed junk will always be better for you, no matter what.

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                      Elise Moreau

                      Elise helps desk workers lead healthier lifestyles. Visit her website on her profile to get a free list of health hacks.

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                      Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                      How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                      How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                      Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                      To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                      Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                      1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                      Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                      Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                      To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                      2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                      Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                      If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                      Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                      3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                      Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                      Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                      4. Feed Your Brain

                      Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                      This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                      Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                      Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                      5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                      According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                      Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                      Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                      6. Write it Down

                      If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                      It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                      You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                      7. Listen to Music

                      Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                      8. Visual Concepts

                      In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                      Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                      Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                      9. Teach Someone Else

                      Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                      Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                      10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                      Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                      So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                      Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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