Get To Know Your Vegetables
Veggies are a huge part of the raw food diet for a lot of people. There are so many vegetables that I had never even contemplated eating raw or had no idea how to make more palatable without cooking. Once you learn how, then there are so many more ingredients suddenly opening up for you to use. With so many of them so high in nutrients and low in calories, they are perfect to eat more abundantly if you are hoping to use a raw food diet to help you loose weight.
Asparagus is low in calories while being high in fibre, which is thought to help reduce colon-rectal cancers and is beneficial in managing irritable bowel symptoms. Their mix of vitamins and antioxidants help to reduce the risk of cancer as well as neurodegenerative diseases and viruses, assist in bone development, and aid in reducing inflammation. They are high in folic acid which is essential in preventing neural tube defects in pregnancy and their other B vitamins help to improve cellular enzyme functions. High also in copper and iron, asparagus is brilliant for helping to support healthy blood formation.
Aubergine (AKA Egg Plant)
Aubergines are low in calories but high in nutrition. The deep purple skin has been shown to contain a phytochemical which aids against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases. Aubergines are also high in B vitamins, manganese, copper, iron and potassium which aids in cellular functioning as well as improving metabolising abilities of other foods.
Cabbage comes in many varieties, but all are high in antioxidants, which assist in reducing the risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers and help to improve blood cholesterol levels. Cabbage has a high amount of vitamins B, C and K, which helps strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation as well as supporting bone health and limiting neuronal damage in Alzheimer's disease.
Carrots come packed full of vitamins A and beta-carotenes and have been linked with reduced risk of cancer of the skin, lung, and mouth as well as improving eye health, increased sperm production, growth and skin health. Initial research studies are also suggesting that the antioxidant falcarinol may help attack cancer by destroying pre-cancerous cells. They are also high in vitamins B, C, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus which also makes the carrot supportive to the health of the teeth, gums, connective tissue, heart function and blood pressure.
As well as being high in vitamins C, K and B, Cauliflower contains a phytochemicals called indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane which help reduce excess oestrogen and have been shown to have cancer cell inhibitory effects, therefore cauliflower can be effective in helping fight prostate, ovarian and cervical cancers. They also help to stabilise blood sugar in diabetics and help with weight loss in those who are overweight. Di-indoyly-methane is plentiful in all brassica vegetables which has an antibacterial, anti-viral and immune regulating role.
Courgette (AKA Zucchini)
Courgette is very low in calories but particularly rich in vitamins A, C and potassium. This helps to regulate the heart, blood pressure and cellular function. Its peel is high in dietary fibre helping to reduce constipation and the risk of colon cancers.
Lettuce is one of the lowest calorie vegetables but they are abundant in vitamins especially vitamin A, C and K, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and folates, which helps in maintaining healthy mucus function, healthy bone function, healthy heart function, offering protection against neurodegenerative illnesses and is also extremely beneficial to eye and skin health. The phytonutrient Zeaxanthin is selectively absorbed in the eye which is thought to help in the protection against UV damage to the retina and recude age related macular disease. The phytonuturients in lettuce are particularly effective in reducing the risk of lung and mouth cancers. Frequent lettuce consumption has been linked to reduction of both osteoporosis and iron-deficiency anaemia.
Mushrooms are typically grouped with vegetables but they are in fact a fungus. They come with an abundance of vitamin D as well as selenium, potassium, copper, and B vitamins. This means that they play a role in helping to regulate hormones and the nervous, digestive and cardiac systems. They help to keep the eyes healthy. They also help the skin and bones to stay healthy, boost the immune system, and increase male fertility. It is worth noting that you can increase the vitamin D content in mushrooms by leaving them in the sun for a few hours before serving.
Otherwise known as a sweet or bell pepper, these have a high concentration of vitamin C - especially the red coloured peppers. This helps make collagen to help maintain strong and healthy blood vessels, vital organs, bones, skin, muscles and tendons as well as strengthening the immune system. It also contains vitamin A and B vitamins which further helps to boost cell functioning.
Pumpkin is very low in calories and is rich in dietary fibre as well as being abundant in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. It's nutritional contents makes it fantastic for eye, skin, and mucous membrane, bone and heart health, as well as reducing the risk of lung and mouth cancers.
Although technically a fruit, the tomato is treated as a vegetable. It is one of the lowest calorie vegetables and packed full of antioxidants. The antioxidants found in tomatoes have been found to be protective against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreatic cancers. They help to reduce the risk of age related macular disease and improve night vision as well as improving the general health of the skin, mucus and bone cells. Lycopene is unique to tomatoes and is thought to help protect the skin from UV rays and so reduces the chance of skin cancer. They are also high in potassium which aids in regulating the heart and blood pressure.