Sometimes when cooking, we wonder what the ingredients we are using would taste like alone. Surprisingly, there are a number of commonly cooked foods that are actually better eaten raw, exhibiting health benefits that simply don’t exist after the item has been through the cooking process.
You may have also noticed the popularity of purely raw diets appearing in the general media, encouraging dieters to be mindful of what they’re putting into their bodies and looking to make the most of every health benefit food contains in its natural state.
It has been suggested that when eating raw foods almost exclusively, the individual will experience a significantly higher level of energy, a stronger ability to focus and less minor ailments such as acid reflux or general aches and pains.
However, there is also evidence to suggest there are risks with raw diets, such as poor thyroid and digestive health and subsequently developing an inability to absorb nutrients effectively.
Taking this into account, it’s clear that there are health benefits to eating certain foods raw, however it is likely more beneficial to find a healthy balance, rather than aim for an exclusively raw diet.
Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a registered dietician from Chicago, Illinois, states that “Some produce is most nutritious uncooked, while other kinds need heat to bring out the best in them.”
Read on to discover a variety of foods that taste great when served raw, as well as the numerous health benefits they hold.
Raw nuts contain healthy fats that are essential for the body to function. They are also known to lower the low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) in the blood. They also have the ability to lower your risk of developing blood clots and can improve the overall health of the lining inside you arteries. When nuts are roasted, these essential fats become broken down and have the opposite effect – contributing to cardiovascular disease and plaque.
Raw broccoli, when combined with the chewing process needed to break it down, can help to rupture a compound within the plant’s cell walls. This compound is myrosinase, an enzyme that can help your liver detoxify carcinogens and fight against cancer. Myrosinase is deactivated when cooked, and those who eat steamed broccoli will only absorb around a third of its potential, so enjoy it raw for the maximum benefit.