Eat Raw or Cook? Here’s What Ya Need To Know!


So here’s my challenge, and maybe you can relate!  I know that some veggies offer more health benefits when eaten raw (broccoli, peppers, beets, ONIONS – OY!) and some vegetables’ nutrients are better absorbed when COOKED (mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes).

THEN, there are those vegetables that offer specific advantages when cooked, but DIFFERENT health benefits when eaten raw!  Take cruciferous vegetables for example.  When eaten RAW, (CONTINUE READING HERE) nutrients are more easily absorbed and made available to other tissues in the body.   However, when cruciferous veggies are COOKED, the vegetables are more likely to pass through with the digestive products mostly unabsorbed.  Some of the risk reductions associated with some cancers are said to be related to this passage of COOKED cruciferous veggies without that absorption.

I know I definitely want the health benefits that cruciferous (and other) vegetables offer in both cooked and raw forms.  My issue is that I cannot STAND raw broccoli!  And who eats brussel sprouts RAW!?  EW!  But I figured it out and I’m going to share this with you because I actually get REALLY EXCITED over this stuff!

The answer is KALE SALAD!  But not just ANY kale salad!  Kale salad mixed with broccoli slaw (it’s raw folks!) and shaved brussel sprouts (I get a bag of shaved brussel sprouts OR the “Cruciferous Crunch Collection” at Trader Joe’s) and green onion!  I make an amazing dressing/sauce and massage it in with the kale, shaved brussel sprouts, broccoli slaw (green onion)…   and it’s AWESOME!  It’s crunchy, delicious AND I’m getting the nutrients that I miss out on when sautéing these veggies (which is what I USUALLY do!).

I’m going to share this amazing sauce/dressing recipe with you (you’ll die! SO AMAZING!), in my next blog.  But first, so that you can take full advantage of the health benefits of veggies in their healthiest forms, here are some fascinating things to note for your future cooking/planning meals!

When cooking brussel sprouts, steam for no more than 6 mins to retain their powerhouse of phytonutrients!  And do you like asparagus?  It’s cancer-fighting potential is unleashed when steamed!  What about mushrooms?  Did you know that cooking them brings out more of their potassium (great for your heart!)?  Do you love spinach?  I DIE over spinach, both cooked AND raw!  But have it cooked and you’ll absorb more calcium, iron, and magnesium.  And would you ever think to cook tomatoes?  If you DO, your body will absorb lots more lycopene (which is cancer-fighting).

On the other hand, a beet will lose more than 25 percent of its folate (folate’s amazing for your brain!) when cooked, so eat raw when possible.  And same with broccoli.  When heated, the enzyme that helps cleanse the liver of carcinogens is deactivated.  Onions raw?  I know – you won’t make friends, but the vitamin and mineral content are at its peak when eaten RAW.  (On the upside however, onions also contain the anti-inflammatory compound quercetin, which is reduced by boiling, but is actually INCREASED by baking and sautéing, so it’s a win-win!)  Lastly, peppers’ vitamin C breaks down when roasted, fried, or grilled above 375 degrees.

I love roasting veggies, but I’ve found that making huge salads that contain my veggies in both cooked AND raw form is the best way to go!  When eating combined you’ll get all the lovely nutrients nature intended for us to thrive!  Here’s to your health!!



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