The raw food movement loves to tout its benefits, which are many. But humans don’t have the digestive systems of rabbits—some fruits and vegetables really do need to be cooked.
Although consuming raw vegetables and fruits may deliver more of their nutritional value, for many it also results in flatulence, stomach pains and bloating.
The sad fact is our stomach enzymes lack the ability to break down many of the components of raw veggies.
Studies indicate that cooking certain vegetables and fruits actually helps increase the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Apparently, the process of cooking veggies breaks down tough cell walls and renders some nutrients more susceptible to absorption.
The same reports also caution that how food is cooked is more important than whether it is cooked or raw. They recommend steaming, grilling and roasting, while avoiding boiling and microwaving.
Here is list of vegetables that are better off cooked than served au naturel on the salad bar.
Carrots, Broccoli and Spinach
Carrots being yummy as is, or with some dip, should go to the steamer. The carotenoids they contain are increased when cooked or mashed. The antioxidants in green veggies like spinach and broccoli are better utilized and primed for easy digestion when cooked.
Corn and Other Grains
Although cooking these vegetables may deplete them of vitamin C content, it dramatically increases the amount of ferulic acid (an anti-cancer enzyme) that they deliver.
Beans, peas and soybeans are practically inedible when uncooked. Breaking down their cellulose would take days in your stomach, else it will just be flushed down the toilet in its original state.
Cooking legumes to their softest eliminates toxins, increases nutritional content and renders them in a state that is easily digested. The protein they contain is simplified and easily absorbed in this state, too.
Potatoes and Other Starchy Vegetables
Softening spuds increases your body’s absorption of their starch by up to 99 percent. Energy from such carbohydrate-rich vegetables is utilized faster, too.
Lycopene, an anti-oxidant carotenoid in tomatoes that aids in preventing cancer, has been found to increase when tomatoes are cooked or grilled.
Other veggies that are better off baptized by fire include mushrooms, cabbage, turnip greens, peppers, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
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