Our 5 Favorite Raw Finds
1. Bell Peppers
The bell's biggest claim to nutrient fame is vitamin C: One cup of chopped red, orange, or yellow bell peppers has double the vitamin C content of 1 cup of orange segments and 53% more than a glass of OJ.
Our Pick: In the heat of summer, you'll be thankful for this raw, fresh, crunchy appetizer you can easily make ahead for guests. "Cook" bulgur with a simple soak. Cover with warm tap water, let sit 30 minutes, and drain.
Beets are a good source of folate, which supports heart and brain health and is important for pregnant women. Heat from cooking can destroy 50% to 90% of the natural folate in foods, so try going raw.
Our Pick: With their awesome crunch and yellow color, thinly sliced golden beets make a great stand-in for tortilla chips. A mandoline works beautifully for slicing; try to cut the beets between 1/8-and 1/16-inch thick. If you use a knife instead, aim to get the thinnest slices possible.
3. Green Tomatoes
Green (unripe) tomatoes have more vitamin C and calcium than the more popular ripe red ones, and they are rich in B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin K. They make a deliciously tart, tangy addition to a chilled gazpacho. Red tomatoes are actually more antioxidant-rich when cooked, giving you better access to lycopene.
Our Pick: Fresh corn, cubed honeydew melon, green tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, and celery blended together create the fresh flavor of this cool summer soup.
4. The Cruciferous Crew
Broccoli delivers a healthy dose of myrosinase, an enzyme that helps stimulate the liver's detoxifying process and is necessary to build sulforaphane, a compound that helps kill precancerous cells (and is what makes broccoli stink when cooking). Myrosinase is highly sensitive to heat—evening boiling broccoli for 1 minute may destroy most of this beneficial compound. Other cruciferous veggies that contain myrosinase include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, radishes, and cauliflower.
Our Pick: A food processor slices veggies in a snap, but a sharp knife works too. Toss the broccoli stalks and leaves into the salad—not the trash.
5. Leafy Greens
Celebrated for their high iron, calcium, and vitamin content, dark leafy greens are glorious in summer. Many of the nutrients found in these greens are more available to our bodies when we eat them raw, including folate, vitamin C, lutein, and all the B's. For a hit of fresh, pleasantly bitter, and peppery flavor, go beyond kale and spinach and try something new; like chard or collard, beet, mustard, or turnip greens.
Our Pick: Chard stems are wonderfully crisp and salty—don't toss them. Here, we chop and stir a few handfuls into the bulgur for extra crunch.