You have probably heard about raw food diet and wondered what the buzz is all about. Well, for starters, it is a diet that promotes eating food uncooked. Raw foodists believe that by eating fruits, vegetables and some meats raw, essential food enzymes – which are usually destroyed when food is heated above 116 degrees Fahrenheit – are retained, providing more vitamins and minerals for the body to use.
So, does this mean that we should all start a raw food diet? Well, not too soon, because some foods are actually healthier eaten cooked than raw. Take tomatoes, for example. This fruit has thick cell walls that make it difficult for the body to absorb its nutrients. But when heated, these walls are broken down, boosting the amount of lycopene you get from tomatoes.
Then, of course, there are certain foods that you should eat raw than cooked, and that’s regardless of whether you’re following a raw food diet or not. Here are some of them:
Spinach is nutrient-rich food whether you prefer it sautéed with garlic in oil or raw as part of a salad. But if you want to get more vitamins and minerals from your serving, try eating it raw next time. Fresh spinach is rich in antioxidant vitamin C, which is lost when the leaves are cooked. A cup of this leafy green provides you with loads of blood clotting vitamin K, which helps prevent excessive bleeding. It is also high in Vitamin E that protects tissues from free radicals, and vitamin A that promotes good vision and healthy immune system.
While nuts have gotten a bad rap about being too fatty, these delicious munchables should be a vital part of our diet and should be eaten raw. Among our favorites are almonds, which are high in magnesium and calcium; walnuts, which contain disease-fighting polyphenols and antioxidant ellagic acid; and Brazil nuts, which are full of heart-healthy minerals like fiber, vitamin E, niacin, copper, selenium and magnesium.
Seaweeds are abundant in minerals that our body needs for optimal health. They are particularly rich in vitamin A and C, calcium, and especially iodine, which is missing in fruits and vegetables. They are also a potent source of antioxidant, which helps prevents inflammatory diseases, like arthritis. In addition to their nutritional value, seaweeds can also help regulate our estrogen and estradiol levels. These hormones play a key role in the proper development and functioning of our sexual organs, potentially reducing our risk to breast cancer.