5 Reasons Everyone Should Eat More Raw Fruits and Vegetables This Season
The crisp snap of a fresh English pea, the tender texture of newly-picked baby zucchini or summer squash, the sun-ripened satisfaction of a vibrant juicy tomato and the zing of crisp leafy greens; why mess with perfection? July and August mark the height of harvest season and, especially in the Pacific Northwest, are the ideal months to indulge in locally grown, organic produce.
Not only are the lettuce leaves more flavorful and the broccoli florets more bountiful, the nutrient quality and quantity are higher and the health and taste benefits are immense.
There is no reason to mess with the perfection nature provides throughout the summer months, and there are plenty of reasons why enjoying fresh raw produce, straight from the plant to your plate, can benefit you.
- Nutrient content: many foods we eat on a daily basis lose nutrient content in the cooking process. While there are some foods that do need to be cooked before consumption, many do not, and actually benefit from less exposure to heat. In particular, the fiber, vitamin C, proteins, calcium, enzymes and antioxidants in fresh produce are damaged by high heat exposure. To get the maximum nutritional benefit from the foods you eat, chose in season, organic and naturally ripened foods and enjoy as much of them as possible raw.
- Natural hydration for your whole body: the water content in fresh produce is much higher than cooked, and is easily assimilated. Water not only keeps you feeling hydrated, it helps lubricate all your joints, transports nutrients throughout your body and maintains healthy feeling and looking skin cells.
- Fiber rich and cleansing: the high fiber content of raw foods helps fill you up faster and maintain regular, healthy digestion. The natural enzymes on raw food also aid in the digestive process and help strengthen your digestive flora and improve your immune function. Together, fiber and beneficial enzymes help process and eliminate harmful toxins in your body and cleanse your internal systems
- Feel better every day: eating more raw foods when they are in season and especially delicious will leave less room for processed foods, sweets and over-indulgences. Eating less junk and more clean, whole foods will help your body feel lighter, more energized and all-around healthy on a daily basis. A balanced diet that includes a moderate amount of raw foods can help keep your digestive system working efficiently, which will help nourish and enliven the rest of your organs and improve your overall wellbeing.
- No need for artificial flavors, sweeteners or food additives: foods that are produced well, grown locally and picked ripe will taste great raw. No flavor enhancers, sugars or processing techniques needed, all of which are hard on your body and can have negative health impacts over time. Eating more raw, whole and unprocessed foods can help improve your overall health, and help re-build healthy digestion, energy production, metabolism and weight management.
- Bonus: eating simple, raw fresh foods tastes great on a hot summer day and everyone from special dinner guests to young children will appreciate the refreshing, light flavors!
Check back Thursday for 2 great raw food recipes – you won’t even miss the BBQ…