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Vegetables: To Cook or Not to Cook?

May 26, 2022 | Digestive Health

Did you know that some vegetables release their most potent antioxidant benefits after cooking? It’s true; let’s take a look.

The heat breaks down thick plant cell walls to raise the bioavailability of nutrients or how they can take effect within the body. In other words, cooking releases nutrients in better-absorbed forms in our bodies than wouldn’t be if they were raw. Vegetables can be roasted, steamed, grilled, microwaved, or lightly sauteed. Avoid charring or overcooking. Add a touch of olive oil for even better absorption.

Here are five vegetables that you should cook to release antioxidants:

1. Carrots – when cooked, release more of the immune-enhancing antioxidant, carotenoids.

2. Spinach – when this leafy green is cooked, the calcium and iron-binding oxalic acid is broken down to increase the availability of these nutrients by the body.

3. Tomatoes – arerich in lycopene, an antioxidant that improves cardiovascular and cognitive function—the bioavailability of lycopene increases in cooked tomatoes.

4. Cruciferous vegetables – cooking cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage or broccoli helps them release indole, a cancer-fighting organic compound

5. Asparagus – Cooked asparagus is higher in beta-carotene and quercetin, two powerful antioxidants.

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