Cooking with foods to make them more flavorful seems like a delicious way to make your supper tonight. Sometimes though, there are foods that are actually better served raw. Why, you ask? Because if you want to reap the nutritional benefits of some of your favorite foods, you need to eat them without heat so that the nutritional benefits are depleted. See what foods you can eat straight out of the cupboard or fridge today!

1. Olive Oil

A lot of people use olive oil for cooking which can be completely okay as long as it isn’t at high temperatures. Olive oil has so many benefits that are fantastic for your body, but there’s a catch!

Olive oil is best used raw because it is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which can be depleted if the oil is overheated.

2. Kale

Do you have kale in your fridge yet? This amazing cruciferous veggie not only tastes amazing but makes a beautiful plant in your garden as well.

Kale is high in vitamins A, C, and K, along with Folate which helps with brain development and growth. Cooking kale can reduce and often completely eliminate these benefits! Instead of adding it to your cooked dishes, use it to make a salad instead!

3. Berries

We all know that colorful food is often good food (unless we are talking about gummy bears) and berries are no exception.

The problem is that berries have piles of benefits when they are raw, but those benefits are significantly reduced when they are heated up. Instead, add raw berries to your greek yogurt or just eat a handful of them if you need a quick snack.

4. Seeds

Seeds are fantastic for baking and cooking alike, but the best ways to use seeds is in salads and on their own. You can even add them to your smoothie!

Seeds are high in thiamin and vitamin B1 and those beneficial nutrients rely on raw consumption to actually have a positive impact on the body. Much like berries, seeds don’t do well when heated so just keep eating them raw!

5. Nuts

Nuts make just about every dish taste absolutely fantastic, and it’s easy to add them to a variety of different heated dishes and desserts.

Unfortunately, nuts actually aren’t really meant to be cooked. Nuts offer tons of magnesium and iron both of which are excellent for your body. When the nuts are heated up, the calories and fat increase while the magnesium and iron content decreases. This is exactly what we want to avoid when we are getting healthy. Add them as a last-minute topping to a cake or eat them all on their own.


6. Red Bell Peppers

Mmmm, red bell peppers just make every single meal better! While they increase in flavor when they are roasted or cooked, the best way to enjoy them is with a little hummus as a midday, raw snack.

Red bell peppers offer a large serving of vitamin C, but unfortunately, that serving of nutritional goodness is gone when the peppers are heated.

7. Coconut

What is better than eating coconut? Coconut water! Instead of loading up on high sugar electrolyte drinks, a natural source of electrolytes is actually coconut water.

Not only does coconut water offer tons of electrolytes, but it also provides your body with magnesium, potassium, and sodium. When coconuts go through the drying process, a lot of these benefits no longer exist which makes coconut water your best choice.

8. Garlic

Garlic has been used both in raw form and cooked form for decades. It truly is what makes your supper meal go from good to excellent when it comes to flavor.

While you can definitely cook garlic, heating it up just reduces how much nutritional value there is. While not al the nutrients are depleted, it is suggested that raw is the best way to reap the cancer-fighting benefits garlic has to offer.

9. Beetroot

Beets have one of the most beautiful pigments when it comes to food. That rich pinky-red color is absolutely stunning and is a visual representation of how nutritious beets are.

Beets are a fantastic source of folate which helps with brain development and cell reproduction, but when they are heated up they lose about 25% of their nutrients!


10. Spinach

If you’re eating spinach for vitamin C, you had better be eating it raw! Why? Because cooking spinach reduces the vitamin C content by two thirds!

One positive side of cooking spinach is that it breaks down the oxalic acid which then helps your body absorb all of the nutrients spinach has to offer, much better.

11. Chocolate

Chocolate goes through a huge heating process before it comes out as a chocolate bar! Unfortunately, these heating processes reduce the nutritional benefits of chocolate significantly, leaving you with simply junk food!

In order to enjoy the mood-boosting, craving curbing benefits of chocolate, try incorporating cacao nibs or cacao powder into your diet. This is chocolate before it has gone through the heating process. Sure, it doesn’t taste exactly like a chocolate bar, but it really does taste good!

12. Onions

Onions are capable of helping to lower your blood pressure and can also help protect your heart from disease. Unfortunately, when onions are cooked they actually lose their nutritional value and just become about flavor instead of substance.

Add onions to dips or salad by finely chopping them up so your family isn’t crunching too much on them but still can absorb those nutritional benefits.

13. Seaweed

Don’t eat the dried version of seaweed, eat it fresh! Water makes up a huge portion of seaweed and helps your body absorb all those incredible nutrients seaweed has to offer.

Seaweed is rich in chlorophyll which is one insanely good nutrient for your body. It helps with cleansing your liver, improves digestion and can help people lose weight. It also helps to reduce your chances of getting cancer!


14. Juice

You’d never want to heat up juice! It’s the process companies use to make the juice that can heat it up for a time before cooling back down again, obviously with fewer nutrients.

Make your own juices at home so you can control how the juice is made and what is added to it. This way you will skip out on any added sugar as well.

15. Cauliflower

Most of us are used to eating cauliflower in a cooked form, whether it’s cauliflower crust pizza or cooked cauliflower with melted cheese.

In reality, it’s best to enjoy it raw! Cauliflower is rich in Vitamin B, but that nutrient is shockingly reduced when this veggie is heated.

Lindsay Duncan

Lindsay loves cooking fun and creative meals for friends and family. At home, you can find her trying out a new recipe found on Pinterest while trying to balance her husband's sweet tooth with her healthy eating habits. If she's not in the kitchen, you'll find Lindsay photographing people she loves and going out with friends to try the newest restaurant in her small town.

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