Eating vegetables are the lifeline to better health, as they contain a wealth of nutrients and antioxidants such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and polyphenols, which prevents the contraction of major illness and disease, while increasing better mood.
What injecting antioxidants does is helps your body counteract damage, which is caused by toxic byproducts known as free radicals. Eating more vegetables increases the daily required intake of vitamins A, B6, C, thiamine, niacin, minerals, and fiber.
Eating vegetables for many becomes a daily priority. What’s often misunderstood is whether they should be eaten raw or cooked for optimum nutrients. The conventional answer for many would be raw, which always isn’t the case.
Most Value From Fresh Produce
Storing certain fruits and vegetables generally doesn’t affect their antioxidant levels, but in some cases their value can increase as the produce ripens.
Once you see a fruit or vegetable turn brown and spoil however, they begin to weaken. The most sensitive to this are bananas, broccoli, and apricots, which quickly loses their value.
To Cook Vegetables Or Not
This depends on the vegetable, as certain ones such as asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, and cabbage, will increase their antioxidant strength during the cooking process.
Cooked Tomatoes Are Better
Raw tomatoes should be stored at room temperature, this since they can lose antioxidants when they’re stored in cooler temperatures such as the fridge.
Cooking tomatoes releases higher levels of lycopene, its most contributing antioxidant. What’s recommended is cooking them for up to 30 minutes at 190 degrees.
Lycopene is found in red fruits and vegetables such as red bell peppers, watermelon, and papaya. Raw tomatoes contain less overall antioxidants, but more vitamin C.
Cooked Carrots The Better
Cooking carrots may squeeze out more beta-carotene, an antioxidant which converts into vitamin A, which aids the immune system while improving eyesight.
It’s found that boiling or steaming carrots preserves more antioxidants than roasting or frying, but never microwave them. If you want to maximize their antioxidant value, try sous vide carrots.
Raw Or Cooked Broccoli
Broccoli is best stored when wrapped in packaging at 1 degree Celsius. Unlike other vegetables, broccoli loses antioxidants quicker without packaging, especially once it loses color and turns yellow.
Eating raw broccoli offers higher levels of the enzyme myrosinase, which creates sulforaphane. Myrosinase however is sensitive to heat, and will be destroy when cooked.
What cooking cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower does is increases indole. Steamed broccoli is thought to reduce cholesterol better than raw broccoli.
Sous vide or steaming broccoli preserves antioxidants and nutrients. Boiling causes the loss of up to two-thirds of their nutritional compounds. Stir-frying and boiling causes loss of vitamin C and nutrients. Steaming retains color and texture.
Raw Or Cooked Cauliflower
Fresh cauliflower is loaded with protein and various antioxidants such as quercetin. Raw cauliflower preserves the most antioxidants overall, while cooking it increases indole levels.
Never boil cauliflower in water or blanch since most of the antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals are lost as they become leached. Sous vide maintains the most nutrients.
Raw Or Steamed Cabbage And Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage and Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables rich in compounds which protects against illness. Consuming around 300 grams of Brussels sprouts daily for an entire week, will result in higher levels of detox in the colon.
Eating raw Brussels sprouts offers the most potent folate and vitamin C. Steamed Brussels sprouts releases more indole compounds, but most can only tolerate them roasted.
Raw Or Blanched Kale
The new kid on the block, Kale is loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and polyphenols. What cooking kale does is significantly reduces the vitamin C and overall antioxidants. Eat kale raw, steamed, or blanched to preserve value.
Cooked Or Grilled Eggplant
What grilling eggplant does is increases its antioxidant value, this compared to raw or boiled. What’s recommended is lightly salting the eggplant slices before the grilling to rid of the excess moisture and bitterness.
Raw Or Cooked Red Peppers
Red peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, polyphenols, carotenoids, and other phytochemicals. Eating red peppers raw provides more vitamin C since heat breaks down this vitamin. Antioxidants such as carotenoids and ferulic acid increases when cooked.
The best results are roasted or stir-fried red peppers. Never boil, as what the boiling process does is drains out the nutrients and antioxidants. What the stir-fry process does is preserves the antioxidants the best.
Raw Or Cooked Garlic And Onions
Onions and garlic has long been associated with lowering high blood pressure. Red onions especially has the highest amounts of quercetin, a type of flavonoid antioxidant which is thought to protect against heart disease and aging.
Onions and garlic will preserve most of their nutrients when cooked, while blanching or stir-fry is also recommended, as they’ll retain their antioxidant levels. So prepare them anyway you like.
What cooking artichokes does is boosts their antioxidant values. Steaming increases the antioxidant levels 15-fold, while boiling them increases them 8-fold. Microwaving will even boost the antioxidants. Never fry them however, as the flavonoids are reduced.
Raw Or Cooked Blueberries
Blueberries are included as they contain one of the highest levels of antioxidants per serving. You can eat them raw or bake them as a pie to retrieve the most value. One study found certain types of antioxidant levels increases when cooking blueberries.
How Not To Prepare Vegetables
Sorry tempura fans, but what deep-frying vegetables does is creates free radicals from the hot boiling oil. Not only does these free radicals damage the body, but also strips the vegetables of their antioxidants.
Fresh is always generally better than frozen. Vegetables such as cauliflower and spinach will lose their B vitamin storage, this during the process of they becoming frozen.