Raw vegetables offer many benefits for personal health and nutrition, which play a vital role in disease prevention, healthy skin, increased energy, and better digestion. When you incorporate raw vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts into your diet, you can create an incredible variety of salads, smoothies, and low carb snacks.
Raw food is a great way to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unprocessed, raw vegetables may help improve symptoms associated with arthritis, chronic headaches, allergies, and diabetes. When you choose the best vegetables to eat raw as a part of your daily meals, the following 8 choices are ideal for enjoying your daily meals.
1. Red Bell Pepper
Red bell peppers are often roasted with a roast beef dinner or used as an ingredient in a stir-fry or a vegetable platter. These bright-colored, crunchy vegetables are rich in antioxidants. They offer a generous amount of vitamin C. While grilling and baking a bell pepper is an excellent addition to any meal, they provide a higher nutrient content when you eat them raw.
These raw vegetables contain nearly three times the amount of vitamin C than citrus fruits, which is best preserved if you enjoy a crispy, crunchy slice of pepper raw and sliced lengthwise and served with your favorite dip or in a salad.
Red bell peppers are one of the best vegetables to eat raw because of their numerous health benefits including reducing inflammation and may reduce the risk of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis arthritis, memory loss, and diabetes.
This dark, leafy green vegetable is a part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, including cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, all of which are high in nutrients. Kale is often considered a “superfood” for its wealth of vitamins and antioxidants and offers numerous benefits, including a positive impact on bone and skin health, detoxing the heart, and circulation. It’s an essential vegetable for boosting the immune system, and you’ll get the most out of kale by enjoying its coarse, curly leaves raw in a salad or a smoothie.
In addition to vitamins K, A, and C, kale is significant in calcium, iron, and magnesium sources. There are several varieties of this nutrient-rich vegetable, including red Russian kale, which ranges from dark greenish blue to purple and red. Other varieties of this coarse, leafy vegetable include Siberian kale, which is greyish-green and grows well in harsh, cold climates, and curly kale, which is highly textured and works wonderfully in salads or as a side.
Kale is bitter, making it ideal for pairing with a sweet or tangy salad dressing or dip. It’s an ideal ingredient in a salad, sandwich, or wrap.
Beets are an iron-rich vegetable that’s perfect as a crunchy, sweet, and tangy salad ingredient, side, or garnish. At first glance, these root vegetables may not make a striking impression, though once you slice, chop, and grate this purple-red beetroot, you’ll find its unique taste fits well in salads as a sandwich ingredient or topping.
There are significant reasons why beets are amongst the best vegetables to eat raw. They are high in antioxidants, which help reduce and prevent inflammation, and conditions like high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. Beetroot contains nutrients such as nitrates, folate (a B vitamin), iron, and fiber.
If you’re new to this dark red small amount grated over a garden salad or coleslaw to get acquainted with its sweet, rich flavor. Beets are common in most grocery stores and markets and various sizes.
Raw zucchini is an amazingly versatile vegetable that is just soft enough to add as a topping on pizza, salads, or tossed in a bowl of pasta. You can slice spiral “zoodles” to replace spaghetti and noodles in a variety of dishes. While zucchini is often baked or sauteed as a mellow, flavorful ingredient, it’s also perfect raw and full of essential nutrients.
Zucchini is a part of the squash family of vegetables and varies from bright yellow to light or dark green. Some of the essential vitamins and minerals that zucchini contains include vitamin A, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. There are trace amounts of minerals, including calcium, zinc, and iron.
The high level of carotenoids is beneficial for eye and skin health and the heart and may provide some protection against cancer. Zucchini is best to enjoy within the first few days when it is slightly crunchy and soft for great texture and taste.
Parsnips are closely related to carrots and often overlooked as an excellent choice as a raw vegetable. These mildly sweet vegetables are tasty as a shredded or thinly sliced ingredient on a salad. They also have a nutty taste which is pleasant and compatible with other vegetables and ingredients.
These vegetables offer great nutrients such as vitamin B6 (folate), C, potassium, and fiber. In addition to salads, you can grate parsnips and sprinkle them over soup, casseroles, or serve in a wrap or sandwich. Raw parsnips are ideally paired with sharp flavors and seasoning, which enhance the taste of this mild vegetable.
While carrots are often the go-to vegetable for salads, taco toppings, and sandwiches, parsnips are a great substitute or addition to carrots for a pleasant change in taste.
Garlic may not seem like the first vegetable to enjoy raw, though there are some significant benefits to consider this as an option. One of the most potent characteristics of garlic is the antiplatelet agents, which help prevent cardiovascular diseases and improve immune function. Suppose the idea of consuming raw cloves of garlic seems distasteful. In that case, you can easily crush or puree this pungent vegetable in a blender and create a variety of salad dressings, creamy sauces, or as a flavorful ingredient in a salad or on toast.
Not only is garlic low in calories, but it is also high in many nutrients and antioxidants, including selenium, vitamin B6 and C, and manganese. Garlic also contains small traces of iron, vitamins B1 and B6, copper, phosphorus, copper, calcium, and potassium. Some of the numerous health advantages this powerful vegetable offers include reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Garlic also improves immunity, detoxification and supports athletic performance.
Garlic is often inexpensive and easy to add into your weekly groceries and regular meals for overall health improvement.
This dark green, bitter-tasting leafy vegetable offers a whole serving of vitamin K, which equals one hundred percent of what your body needs from this nutrient, which is often lacking in many diets. Arugula is commonly enjoyed raw as a replacement for lettuce in salads and wraps or served with salad or eggs or as a garnish.
Arugula packs a lot more nutrients than iceberg lettuce, an excellent source of folate (vitamin B), potassium, calcium, and vitamin C. IT’s not the most popular leafy green. It is often overlooked for spinach or kale. Arugula offers a distinct spicy or pepper-like flavor, which makes it unique.
This densely packed, delicious leafy green is high in antioxidants and phytochemicals. Arugula contains potassium, calcium, and vitamins K, C, and A and offers many health benefits, including supporting normal blood clotting, nerve and muscle function, and bone, skin, and tooth health. Regularly eating arugula can help prevent many illnesses and chronic conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. It’s an easy vegetable to find in most grocery stores and a healthy addition to any diet or meal plan.
This delicious vegetable is low in fat and high in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and minerals. Artichokes are a popular ingredient in dips, salads, and as a side dish. While you may enjoy this textured, colorful vegetable roasted or sauteed, it’s also ideal as a raw ingredient. You’ll gain the most benefits from its nutritional value served raw compared to vegetables high in antioxidants, which are vital for immune function and disease prevention, artichoke ranks at the top.
This Mediterranean vegetable is known for its medical benefits, supporting low blood sugar and improved liver, heart, and digestion health. Artichokes are high in vitamin C and K and contain smaller amounts of folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and other minerals. If raw artichokes take a while to get accustomed to, you can use artichoke extract as an alternative.
Artichokes are excellent for salads, as a pizza topping, blended into a dip with other vegetables and seasoning. They are also a great light snack with a bit of lemon or vinaigrette, topped with fresh dill or black pepper.
Additional Great Vegetables to Enjoy Raw
There are plenty of nutritious vegetables to enjoy raw, either widely popular or a uniquely rare or uncommon choice. Raw spinach and parsley are great options if you’re looking for a dark, leafy green vegetable packed with a high level of minerals and nutrients. Carrot and celery sticks are commonly enjoyed with a dip as a side dish or snack. Green string beans are a great, crunchy vegetable that’s a great snack with sliced almonds.
In addition to raw vegetables, some great sprouted seeds, nuts, and herbs are an excellent source of nutrients, which make tasty toppings for salads and sandwiches. Raw onions are another tremendous nutritious topping or ingredient, whether you slice or chop them for a freshly prepared burger, wrap, or panini. You’ll find some great sprouts in your grocery store or local farmers’ market. These include bean sprouts, mustard seeds, dill weed, chives, and other fresh or dried herbs.
When you incorporate many raw vegetables and fruits into your diet, you’ll help increase your overall meal plan’s nutritional value while improving the quality of your eating habits. Now you know what are some of the best vegetables to eat raw, but you’ll find a lot of great ideas for expanding your palate when you try more new and unexpected vegetables raw, whether you’re creating a new salad or adding a topping to a favorite dish.
Raw vegetables are best when harvested in season, whether you grow your kale, cabbage, and parsnips or find them at your local farmers’ market. If specific vegetables aren’t available in the produce section, you may find them frozen. While you don’t have to adopt a completely raw diet to receive sufficient nutrients, switching more cooked vegetables for raw can support healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
About the Author:
Rob Jones is a father of two who lives in Massachusetts and enjoys cooking and his dog Beau. Rob has spent years studying food and its effects on the body and mind. He believes in moderation and enjoyment.