Fresh and Raw

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Nutritionists hail the daily intake of raw vegetables as a milestone to good health and wellbeing.

We all need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Actually – we need to eat more RAW fruits and vegetables.

Many of the antioxidants, fibre, and other health benefits in these foods can be lost from cooking. The National Cancer Institute of the US recommends at least 5 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of fruit per day and most consumers get less than one-half of that. These raw fruits and vegetables have disease fighting compounds known as phytochemicals which are thought to prevent cell damage. That means you can look and feel less old as you age and help to prevent cancer and other diseases at the same time.

Juice it

One of the easiest ways to increase the number of raw vegetables and fruits that you are eating is to not eat them at all apart from salads is by drinking them. You can drink fresh produce by juicing it. Juicing these foods is an easy way to drink plenty of them to take in enough of these disease fighting enzymes. You can also add these fruits and smoothies into smoothies. Whether you are making green or dairy based smoothies, you can easily consume your minimum daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables while still getting the fiber from vegetables that can be lost from juicing. Drinking these ingredients in smoothies or juices can also be easy ways to detoxify your body and even an easy way to reduce your calorie intake. When having these drinks in place of meals, you can easily reduce the number of calories you eat every day.

Eat it

Eating fruits and vegetables is easy as well. One of the most of obvious ways to eat fresh produce is in salads. Use dark leafy greens, tomatoes, a variety of vegetables that are in season and tasty as the basis for any salad. If you crave something sweet in your salad, try adding a serving of fruit. Apples, pears, oranges, grapes, and cherries can all bring interesting flavors to any salad. Avoid unhealthy, store bought dressing if possible. Especially since it is so easy to buy a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and vinegar and make your own. One great way to limit carbohydrates and fat is to eat salads as dinners rather than just as a side dish or lunch. Add in beans, low fat and natural cheeses, or a little lean meat and you suddenly have a meal that is well-balanced and is full of phytochemicals.

Raw fruits and vegetables make a satisfying and easy to transport snack. Instead of that sugar-rich chocolate bar, try an apple. There are carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli crowns, slices of cucumber and many other snack possibilities from raw fruits and vegetables.

Prevent cancer

Eating raw produce has many health benefits like preventing cancer. But it can also promote eating healthier in general. Learning to eat more fresh vegetables and fruit can be an easy way to reduce calories while taking in plenty of phytochemicals to prevent diseases or fiber to help promote healthy digestion.

The Thais do it on a daily basis. So do the Vietnamese and many other Asians. They consume raw vegetables. This is often accompanied by a dip or sambal. The Thais call it nam prik. The Malays call it ulam. Walk into any authentic Vietnamese eatery and your dish always comes with a platter raw beansprouts, basil, mint and other greens.

Raw vegetable diet

A large variety of vegetables are found in nature. Vegetables are an integral part of a healthy diet as they are rich in vitamins and minerals, and low in sodium, fats and calories. They are totally free from cholesterol and have rich sources of antioxidants. Most vegetables consist of phytochemicals, which prevent some chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancers.

Health benefits

Processing and cooking of the vegetables can destroy the essential nutrients. Cooking dark green leafy vegetables can destroy about half of the antioxidants and carotenoids. It can also destroy some essential enzymes in vegetables. Therefore, eating the vegetables in a raw form is advantageous. Raw vegetables are highly rich in minerals, beneficial enzymes, natural sugars and trace elements. All these essential nutrients are required for normal and stable body functioning. For example, carrot is a rich source of vitamin A, while asparagus contains high amounts of folate and vitamin C. Chicory is a rich source of calcium, vitamin B-6, riboflavin and magnesium.

Raw vegetables offer more health benefits such as increased energy, better digestion, improved skin appearance, weight loss and decreased risk of heart disease. They contain high quantity of magnesium, potassium, fibers, folate and health-promoting phytochemicals. These elements minimise a risk of developing diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Due to high fibre intake, the functioning of digestive system is improved.

While using the raw vegetables, wash them thoroughly in order to remove any dirt and pesticide residues. Try to keep the edible peels on the vegetables whenever possible. The peels of many vegetables contain large amounts of fibres and nutrients. You can use raw vegetables in many ways such as in salads, in breads and pasta, as dips and even in cold soups and juices.

Christmas Salads

Spinach and cranberry salad

1 package fresh baby spinach

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt to taste

In a bowl, combine the spinach, pecans and cranberries. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients and shake well. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Broccoli bowl

4 1/2 cups broccoli florets

3 cups chopped sweet red pepper

10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1/3 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup yoghurt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Sea salt to taste

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice and salt until smooth. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Winter fruit salad with poppy seed dressing

2 tablespoons honey white sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons diced onion

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2/3 cup grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

½ cup shredded Swiss cheese

1 cup cashew nuts

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 pear, peeled, cored and diced

Sea salt to taste

Mix together honey, lemon juice, grapeseed oil, mustard and salt. Add poppy seeds.

In a large serving bowl combine the romaine lettuce, shredded Swiss cheese, cashews, dried cranberries, cubed apple and cubed pear. Season, toss to mix then pour dressing over salad just before serving and toss to coat.