Cooking some foods unlocks their nutrients, but eating certain raw foods is more nutritious. Here are eight to try raw, for maximum nutrition.
Raw Nuts Protect the Heart
Raw nuts have healthy fats that are essential to the body. Raw nuts can help lower the LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or "bad," cholesterol level in the blood. Raw nuts can reduce your risk of blood clots and can improve the healthy lining of your arteries When nuts are roasted at a temperature higher than 170 degrees, those disease-fighting fats get broken down into free radicals that do just the opposite: contribute to plaque and cardiovascular disease.
Did you know that nuts are also among the best sources of Vitamin E?
Raw Broccoli Fights Cancer
Eating raw broccoli, and the chewing process involved, helps to rupture the special compound that is located in the plant's cell walls, an enzyme called myrosinase, that revs up your liver's ability to detoxify carcinogens. Cooking broccoli inactivates the enzyme. People eating steamed broccoli seem to get only about a third as much of these special cancer-fighting compounds.
Raw Garlic Protects DNA
Chewing raw garlic produces a DNA-protecting compound called allicin. One minute of cooking, though, completely inactivates this enzyme, and when you eat it cooked, you absorb little or none of the protective allicin compound.
Raw Juice Retains Vitamins
What could be better for you than fruit or vegetable juice from the store? Raw fruit and vegetable juice! When you buy juice, it is always pasteurized. Pasteurization not only kills bacteria and preserves the juice, it also destroys many (if not most) of the vitamins, minerals and enzymes, along with their health-promoting properties. Sometimes the process adds chemicals, sugars and other unhealthy ingredients. Fortunately, juice is easy to make at home, so try fresh, raw, homemade juice for a burst of nutrition.
Raw Salt Is Loaded with Minerals
Raw salts contain trace essential minerals essential to good health. Table salt is typically heated to high temperatures, treated with chemicals and then bleached. This kind of salt is toxic. Raw mineral salts such as Himalayan, Fleur de sel and others are crucial for proper mineral balance.
Raw Cacao (Chocolate) Is Brain Food
Raw cacao (chocolate) contains a wealth of nutrients: essential vitamins and minerals that boost the body's neurotransmitters, and phyto-chemicals that activate the mood-elevating emotion of "euphoria." No wonder chocolate's so popular! Cooked cacao, which is what you'll find in most chocolate bars and baked goods, loses much of its nutritional value. When the oils and fats within the cacao bean are heated, they actually can become toxic. And, as we know, chocolate is often highly processed with added sugars, dairy products and other ingredients that don't exactly improve nutrition. Using raw cacao and a natural sweeter, you can make your own healthy chocolate!
Raw Chia Seeds Are Nutrient-Dense
Four tablespoons of chia seeds supply as much calcium as three cups of milk, as much magnesium as 10 stalks of broccoli, as much iron as one-half cup of red kidney beans, 30% more antioxidants than blueberries, 25% more dietary fiber than flaxseed and approximately the same amount of omega-3 as a 32-ounce fillet of salmon. Instead of a typical hot breakfast cereal, try a chia breakfast pudding for a more nutritious start to your day!
Fermented Kimchi Improves Digestion
Fermented foods such as kimchi help to support our intestinal flora and overall health. Cooking foods like cabbage and other vegetables and herbs, kills many of the vitamins and minerals and certainly most of the enzymes. When you ferment these vegetables, though, your body can absorb more essential nutrients (and they're easier to digest). Fermented foods provide probiotics (good bacteria) that help our bodies fight off disease, boost our immune system and aid in good health.