5 vegetables that are healthier when cooked

By: Bel Marra Health | Healthy Eating | Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 08:00 AM

vegetables that are healthier when cookedWe know that a good variety of vegetables – the all-time health foods – is recommended for maintaining our overall well-being. But did you know that some vegetables are actually better for you when cooked?

If you want to reap maximum health benefits from these five vegetables, cook them instead of eating them raw.

5 vegetables that are healthier cooked than raw

Carrots: Carrots are often touted for their eye health benefits and definitely can be eaten raw. Carrots are perfect for a simple and easy snack you can carry around and even dip into some hummus, but every so often you may want to eat them cooked instead. Here’s why.

Carrots are known for beta-carotene – the ingredient that offers eye health support – which our body converts into vitamin A. Studies have shown you can increase the amount of vision-boosting beta-carotene your body can absorb simply by cooking your carrots.

Tomatoes: A staple in sandwiches and salads, tomatoes can give you way more antioxidant goodness when in a cooked form, like a sauce or even ketchup. Research has shown our bodies can only absorb four percent of antioxidants from raw tomatoes, whereas when they’re cooked those antioxidants are more readily available for use.

Spinach: Folate levels become more stable once the spinach, another salad staple, is cooked. Plus, you are more likely to consume more spinach when it is cooked because it wilts – whereas raw spinach takes up more space and involves more chewing, which fills you up quicker. This way, you can eat more spinach and thus increase your intake of the nutrients in it, like iron and folate (a vitamin B).

Asparagus: Our body struggles to break down the rigid cell walls in raw asparagus and access the numerous nutrients this superfood can offer. Cooking breaks down the fibers, facilitating the absorption of nutrients.

Pumpkin: This one is quite obvious because, frankly, it is rare to find someone who prefers to eat pumpkin raw. Nonetheless, cooked pumpkin is way more beneficial – and more delicious, too! Like carrots, pumpkin is full of antioxidants that are much easier to absorb once it’s cooked.

Have you been eating any of these common vegetables raw? You could be missing out then. But do not fret, here are some tips to ensure you are cooking your vegetables properly to reap maximum benefits.

The best method for cooking vegetables is boiling them as you would pasta.

Vegetables should be cooked whole to retain flavor and nutrients.

Feel free to add some healthy fat like olive oil and flaxseed oil, which can further promote absorption of the nutrietns.

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