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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.

                      More by this author

                      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 May 22, 2019

                      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                      There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                      One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                      In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                      Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                      1. Cat Camel Stretch

                      Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                      Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                      Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                      Here’s a video to guide you through:

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                      2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                      This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                      Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                      The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                      Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                      Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                      3. Jumping Jacks

                      Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                      Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                      4. Abductor Side Lifts

                      Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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                      Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                      5. Balancing Table Pose

                      This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                      Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

                      ablab

                        6. Leg Squats

                        Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                        Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                        The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                        7. Push Ups

                        You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                        An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                        Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                        This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                        8. Bicycle Crunches

                        There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                        Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                        9. Lunges

                        Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                        Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                        This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                        10. Bicep Curls

                        You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                        Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                        Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                        Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                        Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                        These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                        You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                        Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                        More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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