We all know vegetables are extremely beneficial to our health, but how should we consume them? Is it best to eat them in their natural raw state or after they’ve been cooked? To cook or not to cook, that is the question…
Asparagus = Either
Raw asparagus contains higher levels of folate which contributes to brain health and is packed with antioxidants to fight free radicals that damage cells. Cooking encourages the release of cancer fighting properties.
Beets = Raw
When cooked 25% of their folate (a vitamin B) content is lost, which means a brain boost is lessened.
Broccoli = Raw
Broccoli’s cancer fighting properties like Sulforaphane are more readily absorbed by our bodies in a raw state.
Cruciferous Vegetables (not broccoli); bok choy, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, radishes, rutabaga, turnips and watercress = Cooked
These vegetables contain chemicals that regulate the production of thyroid hormones in the body. Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, cold hands and feet, fatigue, reduced libido, dry hair, and constipation. The process of cooking reduces the risk of hypothyroidism by 2/3.
Carrots = Cooked
When heated carrots release 30% more of their beta-carotene, which aids vision, prevents heart disease and various cancers including cervix and prostate cancer.
Garlic = Raw
Cooking reduces the vital chemicals that relax blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Raw garlic may not sound that appealing so try adding a little to a sauce rather than taking a bite.
Mushrooms = Cooked
The heat releases more potassium which aids muscle development, it doesn’t matter how you cook them.
Onions = Either
Cooking increases the amount of quercetin (a flavonoid), which has anti-inflammatory properties. Red and yellow onions have more flavonoids than white onions. But in their natural form they contain more phytonutrient allicin, which reduces the feeling of hunger.
Pepper = Raw
Pepper contain high levels of vitamin C which is a water soluble nutrient, therefore cooking dissolves a lot of the vitamin C.
Spinach = cooked
Cooking spinach boosts lutein levels. Lutein is an antioxidant that helps to prevent cataracts and muscular degeneration. Additionally cooking spinach releases more calcium, iron and magnesium. Cooked greens become more compact meaning you get more nutrients per bite.
Tomatoes = cooked
The cooking process increases the lycopene content by 35%. Lycopene is an antioxidant which protects against several cancers including breast and lung cancer, and lowers the risk of heart disease.