Is the raw or cooked version nutritionally superior? While most vegetables are better raw, there are a few you should cook instead. It can be a heated topic among veggie lovers. Yes, raw veggies should be consumed in abundance, but so should sautéed, steamed, grilled, and roasted ones, as research shows that cooking can actually break down tough cell walls and make nutrients easier to absorb. And pay attention to the cooking method — whether you boil, steam, roast, or fry them varies depending on the vegetable.
Of all the super healthy greens, kale is king. It is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in existence. Kale is loaded with all sorts of beneficial compounds, some of which have powerful medicinal properties.
Kale which is in the Brassica family, along with broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage — is an excellent, potent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber and carotenoids, and that’s just to start. Research has also shown that kale contains 45 — count ’em, 45 — different flavonoids with a variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Skip the kale salad and opt to cook or lightly steam your kale instead — it contains the compound isothiocyanates, which blocks your body from using iodine (which it needs!). This is only an issue with kale when eaten raw, so getting cooking.
Spinach is a superfood. It is loaded with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package. Dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health. They also provide protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals.
There is no need to shun raw spinach simply because it contains oxalic acid. It is also rich in many essential nutrients, some of which are more available to our bodies when we consume them raw. These nutrients include folate, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium.
When you eat spinach that has been heated, you will absorb higher levels of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron. Important carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, also become more absorbable.
In ancient times, asparagus was renowned as an aphrodisiac, and maybe for good reason. This succulent, savory vegetable contains a stimulating blend of nutrients that help boost energy, cleanse the urinary tract and neutralize excess ammonia, which can cause fatigue and sexual disinterest.
High in vitamin K and folate (vitamin B9), asparagus is extremely well balanced, even among nutrient-rich vegetables. It also “provides a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese and selenium.”
Raw asparagus is delicious shaved, but cooking helps break down the thick cell walls that make it hard for our bodies to absorb asparagus’ A, C, and E, and folate. In the case of asparagus, cooking also makes antioxidants, specifically ferulic acid, more available.
A tomato is a nutrient-dense superfood that offers benefit to a range of bodily systems. Its nutritional content supports healthful skin, weight loss, and heart health.
If a juicy slice of fresh tomato is your idea of a tasty and nutritious snack, consider adding cooked tomatoes to your diet as well.
Tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup—chances are that you eat plenty of cooked tomatoes. If you’re limiting yourself to fresh tomatoes, then you’re only getting about 4% of the powerful antioxidant lycopene that this veggielike fruit has to offer. That’s because raw tomatoes have thick cellular walls that make it difficult for our bodies to absorb lycopene. Once they’re cooked, however, the lycopene becomes much easier for our bodies to utilize.
Carrots are often thought of as the ultimate health food. Evidence suggests that eating more antioxidant-rich vegetables, such as carrots, can help reduce the risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Generations of parents have told their children: “Eat your carrots, they are good for you,” or “Carrots will help you see in the dark.”
Carrots provide vitamin A and a host of other impressive health benefits including beautiful skin, cancer prevention and anti-aging.
Cooking your carrots ensures you’ll get more beta-carotene in your body. In this case, steaming or boiling preserves the nutrients better than roasting will.