Life is getting faster and more complicated with every passing day. To keep up with the pace of life, you need to be strong both physically and mentally. One of the key determinants of your health is the food you eat. Vegetables occupy a special position amongst the list of foods available. They are rich in nutrients that are required for the overall wellbeing of your body. Consuming raw vegetables as a snack or adding them to your main meal is one of easiest way of adding vegetables to your diet.
Let us take a look at the vegetables which can be eaten raw, which are categorized depending on their color.
Which Vegetables Can Be Eaten Raw? Green Vegetables
The pigment chlorophyll, a natural plant pigment, gives these vegetables their green color. These vegetables are profound sources of nutrients such as antioxidants, phenolics, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin K and minerals such as iron and potassium. They serve to protect your body from the everyday wear-and-tear conditions such as cancers, anemia, macular degeneration and poor blood clotting. They also safeguard you from conditions such as chronic constipation and colon cancer since they are abundant in soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, which add bulk to your fecal matter.
The green vegetables vary in color from light green, bluish green to dark green depending upon the amount of chlorophyll and smaller quantities of other pigments present in them. Vegetables which can be eaten raw to get their benefits include:
- Cabbage and broccoli- Cabbage and broccoli are rich in indoles and isothiocyanates, which protect you against colon and other cancers.
- Broccoli sprouts- Broccoli sprouts contain ten times more sulforaphane, which is a cancer-protective substance, in comparison to mature broccoli.
- Broccoli and spinach- Broccoli and spinach are sources of folic acid, which is required for the maintenance of your red blood cells.
- Spinach- Spinach contains large amounts of iron, which is an essential mineral for production of hemoglobin and oxygen transport in the body.
- Beet greens- Beet greens are rich in potassium, which helps in maintaining your blood pressure.
- Green peppers- Green peppers contain high amounts of fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin C and E and small quantities of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
- Lettuce- Lettuce is a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, niacin, fiber and antioxidants.
- Kale- Kale is a rich source of Vitamins K, A, C, B6, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids.
- Celery- Celery contains lot of water and is a source of fiber, potassium, Vitamins A and C and antioxidants such as phenols and flavones.
- Cucumber- Cucumber also contains water and is a source of fiber, Vitamins K, B1, C, Biotin and minerals.
Which Vegetables Can Be Eaten Raw? Red Vegetables
The pigment called lycopene is found in the red vegetables. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been proved to decrease your risk of heart disease, protect your eyes, guard you against infections, and protect you against damage from tobacco smoke. The red vegetables maintain the immune function of your body and preserve the radiance and glow on your skin. Those include:
- Tomatoes- Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, Vitamin C and Potassium. Research done at the National Institute of Health showed that around 85% of the lycopene in your diet comes from raw tomatoes.
- Red bell peppers- Red bell peppers contain Vitamin A, B6, C and E and have very less calories.
- Beets- Beets are a good source of lycopene. They also contain potassium, folate, iron, Vitamin C, Nitrates and fiber. They may help decrease your blood pressure, improve blood flow and enhance your athletic endurance.
- Red cabbage- Red cabbage contains vitamins, minerals and fiber. One cup of red cabbage provides majority of your daily requirement for Vitamin C, about half of Vitamin K and small quantities of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, potassium and manganese.
- Red leaf lettuce- Red leaf lettuce contains lycopene, Vitamin A and B6 and is full of water.
- Radish- Radish is a good source of Vitamin C, folate, and potassium. At very less calories, radish is a delightful peppery snack.
- Red onions- Red onions contain organosulfurs, compounds that improve the immune system, reduce cholesterol production and support the liver.
Which Vegetables Can Be Eaten Raw? Orange and Yellow Vegetables
Plant pigments called carotenoids, which exist in several forms, give orange and yellow vegetables their color. The various forms of carotenoids are beta carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. All the carotenoids have anticancer, antiulcer and anti-aging properties. Lutein and zeaxanthin are highly beneficial for your eyes and decrease the risk of cataract and macular degeneration. Those include:
- Carrots- Carrots are a well-known source of beta-carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A by your body and works to maintain your immune system, vision and the integrity of your mucous membranes.
- Yellow bell peppers-Yellow bell peppers contain lots of water with a small amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. They are a remarkable source of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, also containing Vitamin K and C.
- Yellow squash- Yellow squash contains Vitamins A, B6, and C, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and fiber. It is also rich in manganese, which assists in maintaining bone strength and helps your body to process fats and carbohydrates.
- Yellow beans- Yellow beans contain large amounts of isoflavones, which decrease your risk of cancers and also phytosterols, which check cholesterol absorption resulting in reduced blood cholesterol levels.
Which Vegetables Can Be Eaten Raw? White Vegetables
Onions and garlic are the white vegetables, which you can eat raw. The compound ‘allicin’ present in them is responsible for their beneficial features. It assists in decreasing your raised blood pressure and cholesterol levels and protects you from various conditions related to your heart and blood vessels. It also restores suppressed immune system and has antimicrobial properties. In addition, its anti-inflammatory properties can help ease the discomfort of arthritis and further reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.