6 Foods That Are Healthier Raw, And Taste Better That Way Too

When it comes to food, the cooking process is an art. And while whipping up a dish is always a good time, some foods are healthier when eaten raw. Most of these foods include vegetables such as red peppers, leafy greens, and broccoli. It all comes down to the way food is broken down on a nutritional (and chemical) level. There’s a lot that goes on that the eye can't see.

One might argue that cooking techniques like steaming and roasting is much healthier than the popular frying method. Cooking some foods can also make them taste better or bring out certain flavors. It can also make them easier to incorporate into meals. While this is totally true, some foods are just better in their truest form.

As always, it's extremely important to thoroughly wash raw vegetables and fruits before eating them. The one caveat to not cooking these foods is that you aren’t able to kill off bacteria in the process. Therefore, it’s super important to give them a good washing — regardless of where you go food shopping. Safety first!

Wondering which foods should skip the frying pan? Start with this list of the healthiest raw eats out there.

1. Beets

This root vegetable is excellent for adding a burst of color — and nutrients — to your favorite salads and casseroles. They also happen to be rich in folate, which is necessary for our cells to regenerate and stay in good shape.

Unfortunately, cooking diminishes the level of folate in beets. Try to eat them raw when possible. Add them to a sandwich or cold pasta dish for something out of the ordinary. You never know what you'll end up loving.

2. Broccoli

Broccoli holds the title as a veggie that can help lower the level of carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances, in your liver. Its claim to fame is sulforaphane, a component that helps kick out the bad guys (read: toxins). And in order to maintain the level of sulforaphane in your broccoli, it's best to leave them raw.

Fuel up on broccoli by adding them to salads, casseroles, and green smoothies. They also make an easy crunchy snack. Instead of pairing them with creamy dressings, whip up a dip by adding your favorite herbs and spices to plain Greek yogurt. This alternative is not only delicious, but healthy, too.

3. Red peppers

Thanks to the high vitamin C content of red bell peppers, these flavorful veggies are excellent for boosting your immunity. This is especially useful during the chilly winter months when our bodies are more susceptible to pesky little germs.

To get the most out of your red pepper intake, eat them raw whenever possible. Like broccoli, they make awesome snacks to dip into hummus or a Greek yogurt dip. Chopped red bell peppers also make a great addition to homemade salsa or avocado. Yum!

4. Coconut

In the past few years, coconut has become the new "it girl" of the foodie world. From oil to milk, coconut seems to be the best superfood we can ask for. It's full of healthy fats that can lower your cholesterol and benefit your heart. It just knows what's up.

Not surprisingly, coconut is one of those foods that is healthier for you when eaten raw. This may include using coconut oil to fry food or coconut milk as a base for a soup, sauce, or stew. To reap the benefits of coconut, eat it in its truest form.

Coconut oil is amazing for smoothies, whipped cream, healthy coffee creamers, and more. What's not to love?

5. Leafy greens

From spinach to kale, leafy greens are packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. They're exactly what your body needs to keep moving and grooving. Greens also provide immune-boosting benefits, helping your body naturally fight off the bad guys.

To preserve the nutritional integrity of vegetables like Swiss chard and spinach, eat them raw. This will ensure that all of that good-for-you stuff is still intact.

When it comes to salads, leafy greens are the star of the show. Want to spice things up? Mix and match a medley of your favorite greens. This will bring in more flavor and deliciousness to your raw salad. You can also throw them in cold pasta salads or fruit smoothies for an extra healthy punch.

6. Nuts

If you're looking for a quick and easy snack, look no further. Nuts are here to save the day, complete with healthy fats and tons of protein. I'm talking about everything from almonds and peanuts to walnuts and pecans.

While roasting nuts brings in tons of flavor, this cooking technique can also diminish the nutritional value. Plus, added sodium and oil is often part of the process. Opt for raw, crunchy nuts instead.

Fortunately, this shouldn't be too hard. Nuts are amazing in so many dishes. Throw them in a salad or parfait for a protein-packed crunch. Top a bowl of cereal or oatmeal to start off your day. Mix them in a bag with pretzels, chocolate chips, and dried fruit for your very own trail mix. Win.

For more fun food ideas, check out Bustle on YouTube.

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