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Vegetables are must-haves in a healthy and balanced diet. On top of packing plenty of essential nutrients, vegetables are extremely versatile – you can enjoy them raw, baked, boiled, steamed and, of course, in a delicious NutriBlast smoothie. However, a question many people seem to have is whether it’s better to eat vegetables raw or cooked. The answer is both!
Raw vegetables contain large amounts of water-soluble B vitamins and vitamin C. When you cook your vegetables, these vitamins are damaged and rendered unavailable for absorption in your body. Minerals, like iron, potassium and magnesium, are also reduced during the cooking process. Vegetables contain large amounts of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, as well. However, unlike B vitamins and vitamin C, they’re not in a bio-available form that the human can absorb and use straightaway. That’s where cooking your vegetables can benefit your health!
Cooked vegetables may lack water-soluble vitamins and minerals but they make up for it in other nutrients, especially the fat-soluble ones like vitamins A, E, & K. Cooking your vegetables gently breaks down cell walls, making the vitamins more bio-available. This makes it easier for your body to absorb these essential nutrients than it would be if these vegetables were raw.
Let’s look at one cup of carrots, for example.
According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture, some nutrients were more readily available in raw carrots than in cooked carrots. However, cooking the carrots brought out the nutrients that weren’t easily absorbable when the carrots were raw.
To get the most nutrients out of your vegetables, buy them locally or when they’re in season. The sooner you use them, the better! The amount of nutrients also depends on cooking method, temperature, and duration. To prevent water-soluble nutrients from being destroyed in the cooking process, for example, opt for lower temperatures and shorter cooking times.
No matter how you eat your vegetables, you’ll improve your health by giving your body the nutrients it needs. So eat your vegetables, both raw and cooked, to reap all of the health benefits, from protection against certain diseases to weight loss and management. In addition to a bounty of nutrients, you’ll also enjoy a variety of flavors, aromas, textures, and colors by eating a combination of both raw and cooked vegetables.
Getting raw veggies into your diet is as simple as making a healthy smoothie or tossing together a colorful salad. And cooking your vegetables doesn’t take long either. The NutriBullet Rx is excellent for making hearty soups that’ll warm you from the inside out. Roast your vegetables for an extra level of aroma and taste or quickly steam them for a light side dish. The possibilities are endless!
Jeannene Davis graduated from The University of Texas Houston Health Science Center with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics and followed the degree with a Certification in Adult Weight Management and Diabetes Education. She provides in-house support to physician offices and large scale support to corporations and small businesses to ensure their employees have the most current information about nutrition and wellness.
She's worked in hospitals, outpatient radiation clinics, gene therapy centers, and even insurance companies, focusing on health and wellness, diabetes, and herb and supplement education, as well as renal nutrition support to pre-dialysis, dialysis, and renal transplant patients for a variety of companies since 1993.