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Raw food diet, that is, eating certain foods in their raw form has been touted to have more benefits than eating them cooked. The ideology behind the raw food diet is that most (or, in extreme cases, all) of the food that we consume is unprocessed in nature. By ensuring that all that you eat is uncooked, you actually ensure that you obtain all the nutrients of the food that you consume without taking in the harmful additives.
Like the vegan lifestyle, eating raw foods primarily consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains and are free of oil and other additives. These foods are healthier when consumed raw because exposing them to high heat reduces their nutritional content and antioxidants .
So, here is a list of foods that can be consumed raw for increased benefits.
Foods That Should Be Eaten Raw
The rich reddish-pink colour of the beetroot is what makes beetroot nutritious. Beetroot is a fantastic source of folate, which helps with brain development and cell reproduction, but when they are heated up, they lose about 25 per cent of their nutrients .
Leafy greens spinach is some of the best leafy greens when eaten raw since they contain a good amount of vitamins C and E, fibre, enzymes and amino acids. Young leaves of spinach are best for consuming raw. When cooked, spinach loses not only its flavour but also the amino acids .
Raw carrots provide the most nutritional value than cooked carrots . This raw food is good for your eyes and is good for keeping your body energetic.
To get all the flavour and the crispy texture, you should consume cucumbers raw. They can also be eaten as a low-calorie snack or paired with hummus, olive oil and/or salt.
Radish is another food you can consume raw. Cooking a radish dulls the pungent flavour and brings out an earthy flavour. However, studies have shown that radish is healthier when consumed raw. However, be careful not to eat too much radish as it can cause stomach issues such as gas .
Raw tomatoes provide essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that can deliver a number of profound health benefits. Eating raw tomatoes may help prevent the onset of certain health conditions, including bone loss, cancer, diabetes, kidney stones, heart attack and obesity .
Onions contain cancer-fighting compounds and sulphur compounds. Eating raw onions instead of cooked onions is said to protect against lung cancer and prostate cancer due to their compounds (which gets lost when cooked) .
Kale has a high consistency of Vitamin K, which is necessary for your body. Include raw kale in your diet to improve your digestion process and prevent the onset of stomach issues such as indigestion and gas .
Raw sprouts are one of the best raw food options to eat as they are high in phytonutrients and chlorophyll, which play an antioxidant role in your body . When consumed raw, sprouts do not lose the vitamin C and B vitamins, which help improve your overall health.
Eating raw coconut is much better than cooking it . It is because it contains more nutrients and electrolytes when you consume it raw compared to cooking it. Also, coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes that provides your body with magnesium, potassium and sodium.
The best way to consume celery is in its raw form. However, avoid consuming large quantities of raw celery as it could cause goitres or an enlarged thyroid gland .
Packed with vitamin C and fibre, lemon contains several plant compounds, minerals, and essential oils . Consume raw it to make use of all these healthy elements present in it.
Any dish that you cook with garlic bursts with flavours. While garlic is used in cooking, unfortunately, its nutritional value gets reduced due to cooking it. Garlic contains cancer-fighting compounds that you can benefit from when you eat it raw .
One of the healthiest vegetables, broccoli, can be consumed raw. However, if you are not fond of the earthy flavour this green veggie possesses, sauté it for exactly one minute and consume it. Make sure you do not overcook it.
Nuts are not meant to be heated, as it loses its nutritional value. Raw nuts offer tons of magnesium and iron, both of which are excellent for your body, and if it is heated up, the calories and fat increase. In contrast, the magnesium and iron content decreases .
16. Red Bell Pepper
Raw bell pepper is about 32 calories and is full of vitamin C, which is reduced when cooked. While it increases flavour in cooking, some of the nutritional value gets lost. The best way to enjoy raw red bell peppers is to either eat them grilled or eat them with a little hummus.
17. Olive Oil
Many people use olive oil in cooking for maintaining a healthy weight. However, you will be surprised to know that olive oil is best used raw because it is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, which gets depleted when the oil is overheated while cooking .
Berries contain many nutritional benefits which can benefit your body when you eat them raw. But these benefits can significantly reduce when they are heated up. So, you can instead add raw berries to your Greek yoghurt or eat a handful of them for a quick snack.
Avocados are rich in fibre and low in carbohydrates, and it is also loaded with carotenoids. This healthy fruit can be eaten raw by using salads, sandwiches and dips. Do not use it in cooking, as all the nutrients will get lost in the process.
Things To Keep In Mind While Eating Raw Foods
- You don't need to stick to a vegetarian diet if you want a raw food diet. Things like eggs, raw dairy products and even some types of meat make their way into such a diet. The only idea here is to avoid consuming pasteurised and homogenised products of any form .
- Eating raw food is not only cost-effective but also provides you with better nutrition than the cooked food. Also, it is easily digestible.
- Avoid raw or undercooked (rare) meats and fish, including shellfish. Raw meat may contain harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter and E. coli, that can cause food poisoning .
- Avoid food from street vendors.
On A Final Note…
Not every food is healthy when consumed raw, but these foods we have mentioned here are healthy in their uncooked form. Make sure you clean these foods thoroughly before consumption to avoid the risk of any food-borne illnesses or infections.