Vegetables are essential to the body, however, in consuming these gifts of nature, you should ensure whilst enjoying them, you’re getting the most out of them. For some vegetables, the only way to eat them is cooked, while some are better consumed raw as cooking may make them lose their nutrients. There are in fact, people who opt for uncooked vegetables and place themselves on a raw food vegan diet, also known as ‘raw veganism’, a type of raw foodism in which they eat mostly unprocessed or uncooked vegetables.
Raw food diets have been known to offer a host of benefits which include healthy weight, prevention of cancers, improved digestion, amongst several others. Here are some vegetables you can eat raw.
- TOMATOES: Raw tomatoes are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that can help prevent diseases. Tomatoes are the best sources of lycopene, an antioxidant that is a cancer preventing phytonutrient. Cooking is actually said to boost the lycopene level in tomatoes while ridding it of the vitamin C. Slice up firm raw tomatoes and enjoy them in your salads, sandwiches or as garnishing for your food.
- ONIONS: They come in various types –yellow, white, green (spring onions/scallions) and red. Locally, raw onions are a common accompaniment for suya. Consumption of Allium vegetables (onions, garlic) is said to reduce the risk of gastric cancer. Onions have more benefits when eaten raw, which includes lowering glucose levels, antibiotic and antiseptic properties, and managing cholesterol and hypertension rheumatoid arthritis, and some allergies.
- CARROTS: Besides the popular orange variety, carrots can also be found in shades of red, yellow, purple and white. Beta carotene, the vitamin A rich carotenoid that gives carrots their bright colours is not just an antioxidant, but also an immunity booster that protects the body against heart disease and cancer, boosts skin and eye health, balancing blood sugar and blood health, and anti-inflammatory and system cleansing properties. Munch on some carrots as a snack, or grated in coleslaw. Carrot juice is also very nutritious and delicious.
- GARDEN EGGS: Garden eggs, also known as eggplants, are a cultural delicacy in some parts of Africa. The Igbos in Nigeria serve it with a spicy peanut sauce dip called ose oji at important meetings or weddings to signify unity, respect, peace and sincerity. Garden eggs are a good source of dietary fiber, and the mineral contents make it good for pregnant women. They also aid weight loss. Improve vision, and lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
- FLUTED PUMPKIN LEAF (UGWU): This vegetable has become one of the green vegetables to use in green smoothies or detox mixes. Very young tender shoots of ugwu are not just more tender, they also possess more nutrients and as such, can be substituted for lettuce in salads. These leaves are a source of protein, dietary fiber, magnesium and vitamins. These nutrients and minerals help cell regeneration, lowers cholesterol, work as an antioxidant, treat anaemia and fatigue, have antibacterial properties, and several other benefits.