Those who love veggies usually have a favourite way of preparing them. Some prefer only raw veggies, citing the many health benefits. Interestingly, not all vegetables are healthier when served raw.
Go ahead and eat plenty of raw vegetables, but learn about these 5 vegetables that are healthier when cooked—the cooking process (sautéing, steaming, grilling, roasting) helps to break down the tough cell walls and make the vital nutrients easier to absorb.
One of the major nutrients in carrots is beta-carotene. This accounts for the vibrant orange colour. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A when carrots are consumed. This nutrient is essential for good vision, a healthy immune system, and healthy skin. When you cook carrots, you will actually increase the amount of beta-carotene that is absorbable by your body.
You probably already consume plenty of cooked tomatoes if you enjoy tomato sauce, tomato paste, and ketchup. But, if you are limiting your intake to only fresh tomatoes, you might be missing out on most of the healthy lycopene contained within the tomatoes. Lycopene is an important and powerful antioxidant that is found in tomatoes in high levels.
According to recent research from the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, the thick cellular walls that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb lycopene. Cooking the tomatoes helps the lycopene be released and better utilized by our bodies.
One of the primary nutrients found in spinach is folate, which is a type of B vitamin that is required for proper cellular growth and function, as well as reproductive health. Folate is found in dark leafy greens.
Cooking the spinach does not necessarily increase the folate levels, but you can eat a lot more cooked spinach as compared to fresh, since it wilts down to a smaller volume. This will give you more folate!
Although these dark green, stalky vegetables are filled with plenty of cancer-fighting vitamins like A, C, and E, and plenty of folate, they are very difficult to digest when eaten raw. When you cook asparagus, you will break down the fibrous cells, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients and vitamins.
Most people wouldn’t think of eating pumpkin raw. But, this is good, since cooked squash is always going to be more nutritious for you than raw (this includes other squashes, too, like zucchini and acorn squash).
Like carrots, pumpkin is filled with plenty of antioxidants, like beta-carotene, which is easier to absorb once the vegetable is heated.
If you are looking to get the most benefits from the veggies that you eat, make sure you are preparing them to be best absorbed by your body. Know which veggies are better off cooked!