There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there today about eating raw vegetables for better health. One expert will say to have as much as possible and another will say to avoid it.
Here’s the truth: raw foods can be really beneficial, but only if your digestion is in balance. For many of us today, that’s not the case. So what I recommend to all clients before they go all-in on raw foods is to fix their gut imbalances and THEN take advantage of all the benefits raw foods have to offer.
Vegetables in the cruciferous family: cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower can be particularly hard to digest. There’s no sense wasting your money on expensive enzyme- and vitamin-loaded raw veggies if your digestive system isn’t in a place to digest them well, if it all.
The reason raw vegetables are difficult to process, and often cause gas, is because they contain high levels of sulfur and fiber. This is also part of the reason cruciferous vegetables are so nourishing. The sulfur fights back against harmful free radicals and they have a powerful detoxifying effect.
While the enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants in vegetables are extremely beneficial, they’re useless if your body can’t process them. In the beginning stages of your digestive journey, when you’re working on rebuilding your gut flora and strengthening the intestinal lining, raw vegetables aren’t the best thing to have.
Too often, your body ends up spending more energy digesting these foods than they receive from them. As you work on strengthening your digestive system, take it easy with raw veggies.
Here are a few ways you can get the benefits of cruciferous vegetables without the gas and bloating:
- Ferment your veggies to unlock their nutrients (check out phickle for some great recipes)
- Juice them
- Lightly steam, sauté or roast your veggies and top with a bit of coconut oil or ghee for better nutrient absorption
- Blend them into a smoothie
- Chew your veggies at least 20 times before swallowing
- Take digestive enzymes