While there are vegetables that need to be cooked to enhance their nutrient content, there are some that are best eaten raw. Some vitamins are lost or at least diminished when the food is exposed to heat, just like other nutrients may be enhanced after cooking. But if you’re trying the raw diet, there are a number of reasons why eating raw vegetables is good for you, including the fact that cooking can affect the following nutrients:
This vitamin is common in citrus fruits, but there are many vegetables that contain this vitamin as well, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Just two minutes of heat exposure can reduce 10% of vitamin C in tomatoes.
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine
Heat freely destroys this vitamin, which is found in foods like legumes.
Other B Vitamins
Just like thiamine, B vitamins are generally lost when exposed to heat, such as when you boil the vegetables, because this group of vitamins is water soluble. But loss of the nutrients can be minimized if you don’t use water in cooking, such as microwaving and roasting.
There are different enzymes, such as myrosinase and indoles that are found in cruciferous vegetables, which are lost when cooked. These enzymes in Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, cress, and mustard have anti-cancer properties.
It’s important that careful planning and research is done before you take on the raw food diet. But even if you’re not going to eat everything raw, there are some vegetables that are better when they’re left fresh. Here is the list of vegetables you can keep uncooked to reap the health benefits:
- Jalapeno pepper
- Bell peppers (all yellow, red, and green)
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Summer squash
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Sweet potato
- Winter squash
- Green beans
The bottom line is that we should eat plenty of vegetables, along with fruits, no matter how you prepare them – cooked or uncooked. Garlic is definitely advised by professionals to be eaten raw because of its allicin content. This phytonutrient that can kill cancer cells, including lung cancer cells, is in higher amounts when garlic is in its raw form. Cooking it can decrease its allicin content – same as with onions that have allicin as well.
Foods that are high in vitamin C may be eaten raw to take advantage of the vitamin. A healthy diet can be comprised of some raw fruits and vegetables, which can also fight weight gain because of its high fiber content.