Raw Vegetables

Both raw and cooked vegetables have their own beneficial characteristics. Making sure our diet has adequate amounts of both can help us obtain a more balanced spectrum of benefits.

Benefits of Cooked Vegetables

  • The cooking of certain vegetables has been shown to improve their antioxidant potential and allow for better nutrient absorption [pubby id="11982434,9567003"]
  • Cooking can breakdown certain compounds which allows us to eat vegetables that might otherwise be inedible [pubby id="6207016"]

Benefits of Raw Vegetables

  • Heating of certain vegetables can destroy beneficial nutrients (specific examples below)
  • Cooking can increase the glycemic index of certain vegetables [pubby id="22132322"]
  • Raw vegetables appear to have a more influential effect on cancer prevention and risk of cardiovascular disease [pubby id="15342442,10786720,14525683"]

Specific Examples

  • Heating tomatoes can result in increased lycopene content and antioxidant acitvity [pubby id="11982434"]
  • The availability of beneficial compound (isothiocyanates) found in cruciferous vegetables is reduced after exposure to heat [pubby id="11525594"]
  • The beneficial effects of raw Brussels sprouts on colon carcinogens was not seen when cooked Brussels sprouts were examined [pubby id="12663509"]
  • A well known beneficial compound found in garlic (allicin) can be completely inactivate by only 60 seconds of microwave heating [pubby id="11238815"]

Additional Notes

  • Americans typically consume a large portion of their vegetables in cooked form and lack an adequate supply of raw vegetables
  • Many advocate a strictly raw food diet, but cooking appears to be an integral part of human culture and a more balanced dietary approach is likely more beneficial [pubby id="14527628"]