Whether you’re trying to shrink back into your skinny jeans or just keen to improve your overall health, what you eat makes a major difference.
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By eating a diet rich in nutrients and low in fat you can give your body the fuel it requires to function at its peak. Many well-intentioned dieters make missteps when it comes to food preparation practices, however.
If you’re taking your healthy fruits and veggies and processing the heck out of them, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Stop cooking all of the nutrients out of these powerhouses.
Instead, munch them raw to reap the maximum rewards.
Despite their diminutive size, blueberries are actually the most antioxidant rich of all of the fruits. These tasty orbs contain lots of fiber as well. While getting your hands on fresh blueberries is decidedly more difficult than finding their dried counterparts, eating them raw will pay off, as they’re so much richer in these healthy compounds.
Bold and flavor-filled beets are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. Consuming them on a regular basis can help build your endurance, reduce any inflammation from which you may be suffering and even prevent certain forms of cancers.
When you cook beets, however, they lose many of their most powerful nutrients making them decidedly less health inducing.
Onions are rich in allicin, the part of the onion that makes you cry when you cut them. Not everything that comes from the presence of allicin is bad, however. This component is a phytonutrient that can help reduce hunger and promote cardiovascular health.
You get more allicin out of your onion consumption when you enjoy them raw than when you eat them cooked, so munching on raw onions may pay off; just be sure to combat the resulting breath with mints or gum before socializing post-oniony snack.
If you’re trying to stay hydrated, coconuts are your friend. These fruits are filled with electrolyte-rich coconut water, which can do wonders for your body, particularly if you’re parched.
If you cook coconut, you lose much of this liquid, making the food less beneficial for your overall health.
There’s a reason why your mom always demanded that you eat your broccoli. This vivid veggie contains loads of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, protein and cancer-fighting sulforaphane. It can do everything from help lower your blood pressure to prevent aging.
While eating steamed or sautéed broccoli is still a healthy choice, a report published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” stated that, by consuming raw broccoli you can better ensure that you absorb all of the healthful sulforaphane this veggie contains.
Many chocoholics delight in the fact that chocolates, especially dark ones, can be good for you. While a processed chocolate bar contains antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure, improve your mood and even reduce hunger cravings, raw chocolate is even more nutritionally rich.
Be a bold chocolate consumer and munch on some cacao nibs to truly get all of the health value chocolate has to offer.
7. Red Bell Peppers
Not only do they make that otherwise monochromatic salad pop, red peppers are loaded with vitamin C. In fact, these veggies have more vitamin C than citrus fruit. As an added bonus, they are rich in antioxidants. Instead of cooking these veggies and letting the good stuff leach out, crunch them raw.
Not all fat is bad for you. Nuts are rich in healthy fats that help lower your bad cholesterol and reduce your blood clot risk. For the healthiest nut options, select a naked and raw variety, as most processed nuts are lacking many of the oils found in their unprocessed peers. Additionally, processed nuts are often loaded with extra salt.
9. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens, including kale, chard, collards and spinach, are wonderful for your overall health. These greens are so green because of the copious presence of chlorophyll. They also contain vitamins C and E along with fiber and several amino acids.
Like many other veggies, when you cook leafy greens you destroy some of these nutrients, so eating them raw is by far the best choice.
Eating garlic raw isn’t an activity that enters many people’s minds. Like its bad-breath-producing counterpart onions, this food is rich in allicin. While allicin is still present in cooked garlic, there isn’t as much of it as is in raw cloves.
To make eating raw garlic more palatable, consider making a garlic salad dressing and throwing it on top of your raw, leafy greens.