By now you know the importance of including a variety of heart healthy vegetables in your daily diet. It seems every day, a new article appears lauding the health effects of vegetable consumption. While many people enjoy the natural crunch of raw vegetables, other people enjoy having them served piping hot. Which is better when it comes to your health raw or cooked vegetables?
Some people would say the best way to prepare healthy vegetables is any way you’ll eat them. There may be some truth to this statement. Raw or cooked vegetables are better than no vegetables at all when it comes to protecting your health, but new research is showing that cooked vegetables may have some health advantages.
Recent studies have shown that more natural vitamins and antioxidants are absorbed from the digestive tract when vegetables are cooked than when they’re eaten raw. Why might this be? Vegetables are plants and plants are surrounded by a rather impervious cell wall that must be broken down to allow maximum absorption of healthy antioxidants, vitamins, and caotenoids that are so important for health. The heat used during the cooking process helps to break down this rather tough barrier so that healthy nutrients can be absorbed more readily.
Surprisingly enough, a recent study showed that less than 5% of the carotenoids in carrots are absorbed when they’re eaten in the uncooked form, whereas more than 15% of the carotenoids are absorbed after the application of heat during the cooking process. When it comes to raw versus cooked vegetables, it might appear that the cooked ones have the nutritional edge.
Unfortunately, the issue of raw versus cooked vegetables appears to be more complex than it first appears. Cooking can destroy some of the enzymes that provide the body with cancer fighting benefits. For example, an important cancer fighting enzyme called myrosinase is destroyed when broccoli is steamed, while another important cancer preventative enzyme called indole is enhanced and made more readily available to the body by the cooking process.
So which should you choose, caw or cooked vegetables? The best solution may be to add both raw and cooked vegetables to your diet so you get the benefits of both. By eating a fresh salad with a variety of vegetables as a meal starter, you can benefit from the health benefits of raw vegetables. Follow up your salad with various forms of cooked vegetables with your main meal. By doing this, you can derive the maximum benefits from the vegetables you eat.
Why not add some raw and cooked vegetables to your diet and enjoy the additional health benefits?