Beets, Broccoly and Chocolate (Actually Cacao)
For those who may be looking to take their health to the next level, understanding the best ways to prepare certain foods is key to maximizing their nutritional benefits. With certain foods, baking, boiling, steaming, grilling, or roasting them supercharges their nutritional contents so your body can take in more.
On the contrary, cooking other foods does the opposite – making it much more difficult for your body to absorb the vitamins and minerals compared to eating them raw. While some veggies might seem tastier (and easier to chew) after they’ve been roasted with some olive oil and sprinkled with a bit of seasoning, you could be sacrificing nutrition for taste without even realizing it.
Take a look through the following list of foods to find out which ones are better to eat raw and why, with links to delicious recipes you can try for each one!
The red beet root may be a vegetable with high sugar content, but its nutritional properties completely make up for it. Beets are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and the B vitamin folate, which offers a range of health benefits that can boost your immune system, improve your stamina, fight inflammation, lower your blood pressure, and even prevent cancer.
When you cook beets they can lose as much as 25 percent of their folate (a healthy brain compound that helps reduce the risk of birth defects during fetal development). It may take some time getting used to munching on beets in their raw state, so try a mixed salad made with raw beets, carrots, apples, and ginger lime dressing for a nice added flavor.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that should be a top item on your grocery list. With a seemingly endless offering of nutritional benefits, this superstar veggie is not only packed with vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and protein… it also contains sulforaphane – a compound found to fight cancer cells, lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and provide antioxidants that help with anti-aging and immunity.
According to a study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, people who consumed broccoli raw absorbed sulforaphane more quickly and in higher amounts compared to people who consumed it cooked. Try this incredibly simple and delicious raw broccoli soup recipe for something different than the typical raw broccoli salad.
I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t like chocolate. Even if they won’t eat candy bars you’ll find them buying the chocolate shakes for meal replacements or having chocolate ice cream.
But chocolate is truly the Jekyll and Hyde of health foods. Raw cacao however, is rich in antioxidants, can help lower blood pressure, increases serotonin to boost your mood, and even helps curb cravings – but pump it up with sugar, flour, oils, dairy and other ingredients that turn your cocoa into decadent sugar bombs, and you completely undo the healthy power of this beloved super food.
If you can, try to get your hands on some raw cacao nibs, which are the parts of the cacao bean that are roasted and processed into cocoa. You can find this Cacao at health food stores and easily find it in the whole Foods near you.
Add it to a nut butter, carob powder, a bit of honey, roll it in some coconut bits (or dessicated coconut) and wha la…. you have a delicious dessert. You can add raisens, cramberry or other dried fruits in the roll, but not too much because those dried fruits are very high in concentrated sugars.