It’s true, high temperatures can destroy the beneficial substances in our food. Thus, most of us believe that eating raw fruits and vegetables is the best way to reap the utmost nutrients in plant-based products. However, there are some veggies that can provide more healthful compounds when heat is applied. To give you a better idea, here are seven veggies that are more nutritious when cooked.
Asparagus is an excellent afternoon snack, especially if you want to feel good and energized. However, your body may not absorb all the valuable substances locked in the thick cell wall of a raw asparagus. Cooking can break down this resilient plant part, unleashing the food’s vitamins and minerals. But, that’s not all. Heating asparagus can also help increase your body’s absorption of ferulic acid, a powerful antioxidant typically found in numerous skin care products.
Tomatoes are among the most well-researched veggies that are more nutritious when cooked. In fact, according to experts, cooking tomatoes, especially with olive oil, can help your body absorb more antioxidants like lycopene – an important substance that can aid in preventing cancer and heart diseases. However, high temperature can also destroy the vitamin C in this nightshade vegetable. Nonetheless, you can get vitamin C from other sources such as lemons, cauliflower, and strawberries.
Because of its texture and nutrients, mushrooms are among the most popular vegan meat alternatives. However, experts recommend cooking this product. This is not only to avoid food poisoning, but also because raw mushrooms have a tough structure, making it hard to digest. Plus, cooking can also help unleash the food’s nutrients like iron, magnesium, and vitamin D. The best part is that heat enhances the umami flavor of this product, making your favorite mushroom recipes appetizing and healthier.
The next in this list of veggies that are more nutritious when cooked is one of the most well-liked bitter foods, which is spinach. Although consuming raw spinach is not harmful to your health, cooking this leafy green can provide some benefits. First, cooking spinach will provide more carotenoids and essential nutrients. Furthermore, this healthful product contains oxalic acid, a substance that blocks your body’s ability to absorb magnesium, calcium, and iron. Fortunately, cooking reduces the amount of this anti-nutrient.
The downfall of cooking your spinach is that you’ll get lesser amounts of vitamin B and C, especially when boiled. Nonetheless, you can occasionally eat this veggie raw if you want these two nutrients. Another option is to consume a variety of plant-based products. The best sources of vitamin B are grains, seeds, nutritional yeast, and fortified plant milk products.
5. BELL PEPPER
Raw bell peppers have tons of vitamin C. But, like the other products in this list, you can get more antioxidants (carotenoids, lycopene, and ferulic acid) by roasting or stir-frying your bell peppers. However, you have to pay attention to the temperature and cooking time to avoid destroying the food’s antioxidants. Nonetheless, consuming raw bell pepper is still a good option if you want some vitamin C.
Among the numerous veggies that are more nutritious when cooked, carrots are probably the food commonly eaten raw. In fact, as a crunchy and tasty product, our usual go-to healthful snack is raw carrot sticks. However, you have to cook this crop if you want to absorb more beta-carotene – a substance that turns into vitamin A once ingested. As you know, vitamin A can fight free radicals, boost your immune system, and improve your eye’s health. Thus, it is best to steam or sauté this orange-colored food for more antioxidants and better digestion.
As a cruciferous vegetable, kale also contains oxalic acid. As mentioned, this antinutrient can block the absorption of some minerals. Thus, cooking can decrease the amount of oxalic acid and at the same time increase the levels of antioxidants and other valuable compounds in this vegetable. Experts also recommend pairing this leafy green with other plant sources of calcium such as nuts, seeds, and vegan cheese. That way, your body can still absorb enough calcium.
In a nutshell, eating raw veggies is not the only way to reap the health benefits of these nutrient-dense products. Cooking vegetables is a good option, especially if you want more variety and flavor in your meals.
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