Vegetables don’t get enough credit. If I could, I would be the spokeswoman for raw vegetables everywhere!
Before I argue my case, I want to make clear that I am no doctor or nutritionist and all of my nutritional tips are based off of my own research and findings. I do a lot of reading on this stuff. 🙂 *Dammit, why didn’t I double major in nutrition?! Big regret!*
Ok, so yeah, raw vegetables are super powerful all on their own and don’t think you have to eat a salad a day to reap the benefits. When you eat vegetables raw, you are receiving the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. When vegetables are overcooked, the heat and cooking process strips away the nutrients. For example, you aren’t receiving all of the benefits of tomatoes by eating marinara sauce. That’s right.. unfortunately, your mozzarella sticks dipped in marinara aren’t the most nutritious of snacks.. (although they’re damn good). The tomatoes have been cooking for a long period of time; therefore, they aren’t as nutritious and impactful on our health as they are when eaten raw. Consuming raw vegetables can lead to better skin, increased energy and improved digestion.
There are so many creative and inventive ways to consume more raw veggies into your daily diet. Before we go into all of the fun and unique recipes you can prepare at home, let’s discuss the 5 most impactful vegetables eaten raw:
- Broccoli. Not everyone is a fan of broccoli and that’s probably because of a traumatic broccoli experience from childhood. Typically, adults dislike certain foods because of how it was cooked for them when they were younger. Broccoli isn’t good when cooked to hell and back. It’s important to note that broccoli has the power to help prevent cancer, type 2 diabetes, and even combat against depression. According to a study published in 2008 in Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, our bodies absorb the antioxidants in broccoli better when eaten raw. Go ahead and dip your raw broccoli in a little ranch… it won’t hurt. 😉
- Bell Peppers. My favorite!! I could eat a bell pepper with ranch every day as a snack. Lucky for me and anyone else who loves bell peppers, eating them raw provides us with lots of vitamin C. What’s more, red bell peppers are the most powerful out of the bell pepper family as they are loaded with a high amount of antioxidants which help protect against cancer. Eat up!
- Kale. Remember Beyonce’s “7/11” music video where she was wearing a a simple, navy sweatshirt the entire time which said the word “KALE” on it? Yeah, kale is cool and if Beyonce likes kale, I like kale, too. 😉 Out of majority of foods on the planet, kale is the most nutrient-dense. A single cup of raw kale is packed with vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium and magnesium. Adding kale to your diet is relatively simple and if you don’t think you’re a fan, start by adding 1 cup of kale mixed with 1 cup of a different green (mixed greens, arugula, spinach, romaine) with your favorite salad toppings. Kale chips also make for a delicious, crunchy snack!
- Tomatoes. Fun fact- tomatoes are technically a fruit although they are typically prepared and eaten like a vegetable. As a child, I wasn’t the biggest fan of raw tomatoes, but now I’m obsessed. Lucky for me, tomatoes are loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and fiber. Tomato consumption has been linked to improved skin health and lowering the risk of heat disease and cancer. I like to eat cherry tomatoes dipped in ranch as a snack or slice a large vine tomato into thin slices and top with small dices of red onion, crumbled feta, a drizzle of good quality EVOO and a sprinkle of salt & pepper. Yummmyyyy.
- Spinach. I learned something as I was researching the benefits of consuming spinach. Apparently, spinach originated in Persia and is also related to beets and quinoa. Who would’ve thought?! Consuming raw spinach may improve eye health, reduce stress, lower blood pressure levels and fight against cancer. What’s more, spinach is very low in carbs and most of the carbs in spinach actually consist of fiber. If you’re ever feeling constipated, I recommend consuming spinach to help stimulate bowel movements. Not everyone is a fan of raw spinach salads and that’s ok. I love throwing a handful of raw spinach into my smoothies. My spinach, avocado and mango smoothie is one of my absolute favorites. You can try it here!
In conclusion, vegetables have been and will always be a great source of vitamins, minerals, iron, folic acid and fiber. They are low in carbs and help protect our bodies against diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer- just to name a few. They will improve our energy levels, skin health and digestion – just to name a few.
If you are interested in health-boosting potential, I highly recommend adding more raw veggies into your daily diet. Let’s take care of our beautiful bodies!!