It’s no secret that vegetables have the word “healthy” stamped all over them when it comes to choosing foods that are good for the body. But, the debate continues over whether raw vegetables are healthier than cooked vegetables. But a lot has been said about the way vegetables should be cooked. Some say steaming vegetables is the best way to lock in the nutrients, others say that eating raw greens is more beneficial to health.
Studies have shown that essential nutrients are enhanced when vegetables are heated than when eaten raw. And, the vegetables taste better, too. Researchers say boiling, steaming, and stir-frying are the best ways to cook vegetables. Some studies also suggest that our choice of cooking method can impact the nutritional value of our vegetables. For instance, according to a study conducted at Zhejiang University, researchers found that stir-frying, microwaving, and boiling broccoli can all deplete levels of chlorophyll, soluble protein, sugars and vitamin C from the veggie, whereas steaming broccoli did not have that same outcome.
Foods that are most nutritious when cooked
The leafy green is packed with nutrients, but you'll absorb more calcium and iron if you eat it cooked. The reason is, Spinach is loaded with oxalic acid, which blocks the absorption of iron and calcium but breaks down under high temperatures.
According to the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University, tomatoes lose a lot of vitamin C when they're cooked. However, a 2002 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that cooked tomatoes have significantly higher levels of lycopene than raw ones, likely because the heat helps to break down the thick cell walls, which contain a number of important nutrients.
Antioxidants are heroic little substances that can protect your cells from damage, which may reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases. Mushrooms (which are technically fungi) happen to be packed with antioxidants, cooked mushrooms have higher levels of potassium, niacin, and zinc than raw ones
Beta-carotene is a substance called a carotenoid that the body converts into vitamin A, which plays a key part in supporting bone growth, enhancing your vision, and keeping the immune system in tip-top shape.