Many people believe that the food they eat needs to be cooked in order to be safe. Cooking kills bacteria, viruses, and parasites, thereby protecting you from the harmful effects that they lead to. However, where vegetables are concerned, sometimes the healthiest choice is to eat them raw. Here are six vegetables that experts say will benefit your health when you eat them raw.
Not only are onions one of the healthiest vegetables to eat due to the abundance of cancer-fighting antioxidants that they provide, they also taste delicious raw. Eating them can help to prevent prostate and lung cancer from developing. While some people enjoy eating them in the same manner that they eat an apple, most commonly they are cut into rings and served on hamburgers.
Red Bell Peppers
Bell peppers make great low-calorie snacks, medium peppers having only 32 calories each and they are packed full of vitamin C. Cooking bell peppers at temperatures above 375 degrees causes the vitamin C to break down, preventing you from being able to take advantage of the health benefits of it. Eating raw bell peppers also helps to prevent atherosclerosis, one cause of heart disease.
Like all cruciferous vegetables in the Brassicae family, which also includes broccoli, mustard, turnips, rutabaga, and others, cabbage is high in glucosinolate. This plant compound has been proven to be particularly effective for fighting cancer, and is easily destroyed when the vegetable is heated. Note, however, that if you suffer from hypothyroidism or goiter, you should restrict the amount of cruciferous vegetables that you eat, either cooked or raw, as enzymes contained within them induce goiter.
A vegetable that has been growing in popularity in many American’s diets, boy choy is among the most nutritionally dense vegetables known, ranking second in a CDC list of 41 power-vegetables. It’s also delicious eaten raw. Try chopping it up and mixing it into your favorite salads, or eat it alone with just a light sprinkling of dressing.
All red vegetables are high in the antioxidant, lycopene. Though the tomato is technically not a vegetable (it’s a fruit), most people think of it as such so it deserves to be mentioned in this list. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, lycopene is converted into vitamin A inside the body, where it helps to protect against lung, prostate, and mouth cancer. They are delicious right off the vine, or can be diced into salads and raw salsas.
Thanks to Bugs Bunny, we all know that carrots are valued for their ability to help preserve your vision. This is because they are high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, and in addition to benefiting your eyesight, it helps boost the immune system and the health of your mucus membranes. Eaten raw, they are great all by themselves, or they can be used to add a little color and flavor to salads.
Though most can be eaten raw, these are some of the healthiest vegetables to include as part of your diet. Eating them raw preserves the natural health benefits that they provide, and has the added benefit of adding convenience to your meal preparations as you won’t be cooking them.