Vegetables are good for you. Period. Why you should add them to your diet on an everyday basis is plain to see — they are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that fight anything from accelerated aging, inflammation, heart disease to cancer. The importance of consuming veggies cannot be stressed enough.
Even though there’s no questioning that vegetables are the perfect additions to one’s diet, many people are wondering if they should have their veggies eaten raw or cooked.
Are you one of these individuals who want to make sure that they are making the most out of every produce that goes into their mouths? Then keep on reading. This article will allow you to decide whether you should eat your veggies raw or cooked.
Feel free to share this article on your various social media sites especially if you have tons of health-conscious family and friends who love their vegetables so much.
The Need for Proper Digestion
No matter how nutritious what you’re eating is, it means nothing if it’s not properly digested. Needless to say, it’s very important for the vegetables you are having to be broken down in your stomach very well so that the nutrients they contain can be absorbed by your small intestine and enjoyed by the rest of your body.
Compared to the walls of your own cells, the walls of the cells of veggies are a lot tougher. Cooking helps make it easier for your digestive acids and enzymes to dismantle those cell walls in order to allow the nutrients within to escape.
It’s for this reason why your body may fail to enjoy most of the health-giving nutrients present in raw vegetables. You will completely benefit from the fiber content, but unfortunately the same cannot be said for those vitamins, minerals and antioxidants — no amount of chewing may be able to break down every one of those hardwearing cell walls.
Heat Tends to Destroy Some Nutrients
Although it’s true that cooking helps eliminate the issue posed by the tough walls of the cells of vegetables, the sad truth is some of those nutrients locked inside every cell may end up destroyed if exposed to heat.
Nutrition experts say that boiling vegetables in water most especially can cause some of the much-needed nutrients in veggies to vanish. This is most especially true for water-soluble vitamins. Alas, there are lots of water-soluble vitamins that your body greatly needs — vitamin C and the big B-complex family.
The longer you cook your vegetables, the more damaged those water-soluble vitamins become. Overcooking may make veggies so easy to digest, but they become practically devoid of those much-needed water-soluble vitamins.
Some Nutrients are Boosted by Heat
Refrain from assuming that cooking is the bane of health-conscious individuals. That’s because there are certain nutrients found in vegetables that become more accessible to your body when they are exposed to heat.
For instance, the super powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant called lycopene only becomes activated once it is exposed to heat. This only means that anything that contains lycopene — tomatoes, red cabbage, asparagus — should be cooked first most especially if your goal is to lead a cancer-free life.
Carrots are revered for their beta carotene content that is converted into vitamin A by your body. Experts say that the levels of beta carotene in carrots multiply considerably upon being exposed to high temperatures.
So What Should be Done?
If you cannot decide whether or not you should first cook veggies, follow the tip highly suggested by nutritionists: keep cooking times short. If possible, steer clear of boiling your vegetables in water. Steaming, blanching, sautéing, stir-frying and even microwaving are highly suggested.