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Which Are Healthier: Cooked or Raw Vegetables?

Raw Vegetables

Did you know that some vegetables are better eaten cooked, and some are better raw?

All vegetables have benefits, and I would rather you get them in whatever way helps you the most, but there are different benefits depending on the vegetable.

Cooking can destroy some of the enzymes that are in vegetables. But aside from just making them taste better, cooking them can help break down fibrous vegetables which can be harder to digest when they’re in a raw form.

Asparagus – Cooked

Asparagus is really good for flushing toxins out of the kidneys, has plentiful antioxidants, and is really fibrous.

Cooking asparagus breaks down the fibers, and releases more antioxidants. Don’t wrap it in aluminum foil.

You can also cook it with coconut or avocado oil to release even more antioxidants.

Broccoli – Both

Broccoli is loaded with more vitamin C than an orange. The National Cancer Institute shows that if you steam broccoli, it releases more vitamin E, which is a good antioxidant. If you’re sensitive to broccoli and it makes you more gassy, steaming it may be a better option for you.

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that people that consumed raw broccoli absorbed more of the sulforaphane in it, which is a good antioxidant.

Zucchini – Raw

When you eat zucchini raw, you’re going to get more vitamin A & C out of it. Although they’re not the best-tasting vegetable, they’re versatile and can be added to a green smoothie or salad easily.

Spinach – Cooked

When you cook spinach, you release extra minerals such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • B2
  • B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc

I would recommend cooking spinach to get more out of its natural minerals, especially if you’re anemic and need more iron.

When you cook spinach the amount of vitamins are going to go down a little bit, but you’re going to increase the minerals that you receive.

Mushrooms – Both

Mushrooms process the nutrients around them and in the soil. They contain a lot of minerals that help the heart such as copper, folate, niacin, and potassium. They also help with the immune system, fluid balance, muscles, and nerves.

A ⅔ cup of sliced portobello mushrooms contains the same amount of potassium as a medium sized banana, with no sugar and no genetic modifications.

When you do cook mushrooms, you unlock a lot more antioxidants, but you can eat them raw or cooked.

Sweet Potatoes – Cooked

They’re delicious when they’re cooked, and they have a lot of fiber in it that you’re going to be able to break down a lot easier.

Kale – Raw

Although you do release more minerals when you cook kale, you get more vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C when you eat it raw. Kale is really good in a salad, or you can juice it into a smoothie, and mix it with a collagen powder.

If you’re making a salad, you can throw in kale, spinach, and romain for a good mix and variety.

Bell Peppers – Cooked

The International Journal of Plant Research found that cooking green peppers helps process bile salts in the digestive system. Lightly sauteed bell peppers provide detoxifying effects, and help break down fats if you don’t have a gallbladder.

Bell peppers already help lower cholesterol and support your heart, but when they’re cooked, this benefit is enhanced, and they provide more vitamin A & C.

Onion – Raw

When you cook onions, you decrease the amount of allicin in it, which is antimicrobial and antifungal and helps you curb your hunger. It also prevents cancer, promotes cardiovascular health, and reduces high blood pressure.

Red and yellow onions are high in quercetin, which is good for the immune system and is anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial, which will help you fight off viruses including the common cold.

You can mix it in with guacamole or a salad, if you don’t want to eat a raw onion like an apple.

Carrot – Cooked

They’re delicious raw, but you get more vitamin and mineral content when you cook them. The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that cooking carrots increased antioxidant levels by 14%.

My mom used to lay carrots underneath a roast to soak them in the broth, which is an easy and delicious way to cook them.

Cauliflower – Cooked

Cauliflower provides more vitamins and minerals and releases more antioxidants when you eat it cooked. It’s also good for hormones in both men and women.

Tomato – Cooked

Tomatoes contain lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant that is especially effective against prostate cancer. Cooking a tomato boosts the antioxidant activity of lycopene, so you get more benefit from it.

According to Cornell University, lightly cooking tomatoes breaks down the cell wall, and you’re able to absorb the nutrients from it easier.

Summary

Eating any of these foods raw is fantastic, but there are benefits to cooking some of them. If you didn’t know, now you know. If you need a place to get started, I’ve written a book to help you make food simple and understand how to change your lifestyle.

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