The Raw vs. The Cooked

We know that vegetables are good for us for many reasons. They help reduce the risk of diseases while keeping us healthy and energized. Sautéing, grilling, roasting, or steaming veggies can make them taste better, but did you know that cooking your vegetables may actually decrease the health benefits your body receives?

This is not true for all veggies, but many of them lose nutritional value when heat is applied. In order to take maximum advantage of those garden goodies, check out the following facts.

The Raw

Skip the hassle of cooking and enjoy these veggies as they are. First up is…broccoli. When this tasty crucifer is cooked, an enzyme known as myrosinase begins to disappear. Myrosinase significantly reduces your risk of developing cancer. If you can’t stomach the idea of eating it raw, steam it using the smallest amount of water possible, to limit the loss of vitamins. If you’re feeling adventurous, add some broccoli sprouts to your favorite dish to double its anti-cancer properties!

Beets are another great candidate for raw consumption. When cooked, they lose more than 25% of their folate. This veggie is also high in vitamin C and manganese (which is good for your liver, kidneys and bones). People are drawn to beets because of its strong potential to improve cardiovascular health.

The Cooked

If in general you simply prefer cooked vegetables, consider the following. Let’s begin with tomatoes. When a tomato is cooked, its cell walls are broken down, releasing lycopene for our bodies to enjoy. Lycopene lowers the risks of cancer and heart attack. Another veggie with a thick cell wall and strong cancer-fighting potential is asparagus. When steamed, that cell wall breaks down, making way for vitamins A, C and E to be absorbed. 

Carrots are a great selection when preparing a home-cooked meal. They contain higher levels of beta carotene when heated. Beta carotene converts into vitamin A, which plays a major role in vision, reproduction, bone growth and regulating the immune system. Mushrooms and spinach fall into this category as well, armed with muscle-building potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.

So the next time you prepare your produce, take a moment to think about or research how to bring out the very best in them for your body.

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