Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cooking your vegetables is a good thing!

While raw food diets are extremely popular these days, they can also be a challenge to follow. It seems that dieters that follows this diet may have their own interpretation of how much to eat, whether or not the products are indeed organic, whether or not they are easy to prepare and will they satiate the palate. Additionally, it's not like raw dishes are standard on any restaurant menu, it could be more difficult to find something to eat. How willing are you to sacrifice the time and money to eat this way 24/7?

Something to seriously think about before investing time and money into a raw food diet is to assess whether all the vegetables you decide to eat are actually better cooked or raw. The act of cooking many vegetables allows for the release of more nutrients that are important for proper and optimal absorption.

Rui Hai Liu, a professor in the department of food science at Cornell University who has studied the affects of heat on food, has stated that "common wisdom says cooked food has lower nutritional value compared to fresh produce, but that's not always true. Many nutrients in fruits and vegetables are bound in the cell walls. Cooking helps release them."

Furthermore, the following 5 vegetables (and correction -- 1 fruit being the tomato) are great examples of vegetables best cooked for delicious and nutritious results:

1) Tomatoes contain the phytochemical lycopene, which when cooked, releases its powerful benefits in the body. Lycopene is well known to be linked to lowering heart disease and cancer. A landmark study conducted in 2002 determined that while cooking reduces the vitamin C, it raises the strength of the disease-fighting antioxidant by 62 percent.

2) Spinach. While we may all know that spinach contains a ton of essential nutrients, more calcium and iron are released for absorption when the spinach is cooked.

3) Carrots. Cooking carrots stimulates the release of carotenoids that are known best for being cancer-fighting organic plant pigments. A 2008 study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry discovered that boiling carrots -- until tender -- boosted carotenoids by 14 percent.

4) Asparagus. As a great example, a 2009 study found in the International Journal of Food Science & Technology found that by cooking asparagus, six different nutrients became more powerful -- by more than 16 percent...

5) Mushrooms. Imagine that? A cup of cooked white mushrooms contains about twice as much niacin (good for your heart), potassium (good for your muscles), magnesium (for bone strength) and zinc (immunity booster) than raw mushrooms!

To further learn ways to prepare these vegetables, read the article and become smarter by not only eating your vegetables, but making the most of them nutritionally.

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