It’s a known fact that eating more vegetables can improve your health, reduce the risk of developing heart disease by improving your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and help you to lose excess weight. It’s no surprise then that veggies are the new superfoods, attracting plenty of attention and publicity in magazines, television, social media and the internet. For those who want to maximize the beneficial qualities of vegetables, the question often arises:
What’s healthier, eating veggies raw or cooked?
While some fad diets proclaim one option to be better over the other, the fact is that some vegetables provide additional health benefits when cooked, and others provide the best results was eaten raw. Choosing to eat your vegetables raw or cooked ultimately depends on your health goals and personal preferences.
Raw or Cooked: Benefits of Eating Cooked Vegetables
When you cook vegetables, the cell walls become softer which can make it easier for your body to digest and absorb nutrients. For example, cooked carrots can provide your body with more beta-carotene, an antioxidant that improves bone, eye, and reproductive health than when eaten raw. Cooked tomatoes offer increased levels of lycopene, a carotenoid that helps to guard against heart disease and cancer.
Raw or Cooked: Benefits of Eating Raw Vegetables
When you cook vegetables submerged in water, vitamins C and B are released into the water, resulting in an overall decrease in those nutrients. Other minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc decrease in the same manner. However, the level of nutrients lost during cooking often depends on the cooking methods used, and the length of time you choose to cook the vegetables, in order to achieve the desired taste and texture. Roasting vegetables is one way to mitigate nutrient loss.
What about frozen vegetables?
It’s been confirmed by multiple sources in both the United States and United Kingdom that in most cases, frozen vegetables (and fruits!) are actually more nutritious (and more sustainable!) than their fresh counterparts.
What are the healthiest vegetable cooking methods?
If you want to make sure that your vegetables are as nutrient-packed and delicious as possible, choose cooking methods that require the least amount of time. Using a steamer basket for steaming, pressure cooking, and microwaving are all methods that require minimal water and cooking time. Remember, when it comes to fresh vegetables, nutrient loss begins shortly after picking. Be sure to keep store-bought vegetables in the refrigerator and cook within a few days.
Frozen vegetables, such as Tommy’s vegetable medleys, are flash-frozen immediately after harvesting, which results in preserving all of the essential nutrients (and delicious, fresh-picked flavor) until you’re ready to eat them.
Regardless of whether you steam, microwave, boil, pressure cook or oven roast, vegetables are full of antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins that will help you to stay healthy. If half of each meal you consume is made up of fruits and vegetables, you’ll easily reach the recommended five to ten servings every day.
Raw or Cooked: The Bottom Line
What’s clear is that there are pros and cons for eating raw vegetables as well as cooking them, so the main takeaway is that you should find ways to make both raw and cooked vegetables a part of your diet.
So, if you love a freshly sliced tomato and grated raw carrot on your mixed greens salad, go for it! And if your teenager would rather clean their room than eat any form of uncooked vegetable, that’s OK too! When vegetables taste better, we’re more likely to eat them, and that’s the best thing for our overall health and well-being.
Here at Tommy’s Superfoods, we try to make adding vegetables to your diet as easy and as delicious as possible. Each bag of our easy-to-prepare mixed frozen vegetables provides simple to follow cooking instructions that require minimal cooking time but provide maximum flavor and nutrition!