Are raw vegetables always better for you than cooked ones?

Are raw vegetables healthier for us? Not always, says Kate Percy, as sometimes heat helps make it easier for our bodies to process the nutrients

Are raw vegetables healthier than cooked ones

Eating vegetables raw rather than cooked is indeed often the healthier option. But some vegetables can be better for you once cooked, as the process makes it easier for our bodies to absorb nutrients.

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Antioxidants in asparagus, for instance, increase once cooked; the cooking of tomatoes enables us to better absorb the antioxidant lycopene, while the same goes for cooked mushrooms and potassium; beta-carotene in cooked carrots and red pepper is also easier for our bodies to absorb; while your body derives more iron, calcium and
magnesium from cooked spinach.

Eating raw veg can help us feel fuller as they’re bulkier and have a higher water content. However, some vegetables just don’t taste good raw, or tend to be difficult to digest. The uncooked starch in raw potatoes for instance can result in digestive problems, gas and bloating. Cooking cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage,Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, though perfectly safe and also rather delicious to eat raw, neutralises enzymes that can interfere with your digestion.

The nutritional profile of beans also increases with cooking. The toxins found in raw or undercooked beans can be extremely dangerous, causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. That’s why it’s important to soak beans overnight, change the water and boil well before eating. 

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