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Which vegetables should you eat raw and which ones cooked?

Find out what's right for your health.

The constant confusion of which veggie loses its nutritional value when you cook it or which one retains it if you add it your salad can finally come to an end. Dr Neha Sanwalka tells us the right (read most healthy) way to eat your veggies to gain the maximum benefits.

Which veggies are best eaten raw?

  • Beetroot: Cooking beetroot can cause a loss of 25% of the folate content. Hence beetroot is best consumed raw.
  • Onion and garlic: The nutrients in onion and garlic reduce while cooking so eat them raw.
  • Red and yellow bell peppers: Bell peppers are a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C gets degraded on exposure to heat so these will lose their nutritive value while cooking.
  • Cucumber: It is best to eat cucumbers raw as cooking reduces the nutritional content of this vegetable. Try this cucumber salad.

Which veggies are best eaten only cooked?

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  • Potato: It is best eaten when cooked as cooking reduces anti-nutrient content and toxins such as solanine from potatoes. Also starch in uncooked potatoes can cause gas and bloating. Did you know potatoes can help you lose weight?
  • Beans: They are best eaten cooked as uncooked beans are difficult to digest and can cause bloating.
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Veggies like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower can be eaten raw by some, but for most people these vegetables should be eaten only after cooking as it is easy to digest once cooked. Also, those with thyroid issues should avoid uncooked cruciferous vegetables as they can worsen thyroid problem.
  • Leafy greens: Veggies like spinach and methi contain oxalic acid that inhibit the absorption of calcium and iron. Cooking reduces the oxalic acid content of food and hence its best to consume these foods after cooking.

Vegetables that are safe to eat raw but are more beneficial when consumed cooked:

  • Asparagus: Cooking increases the cancer fighting properties of asparagus and hence its beneficial to steam asparagus before consumption. Here are 8 reasons to eat asparagus.
  • Tomatoes: Tomato is a amazing vegetable to be consumed raw, however, lycopene, the antioxidant and cancer fighting factor present in tomatoes is more potent and easily absorbed from cooked tomatoes as compared to raw tomatoes and hence tomatoes are equally beneficial when eaten cooked.
  • Mushroom: Cooking enhances potassium absorption from mushrooms and hence are more beneficial when eaten cooked.

For best results, one must include a combination of cooked and raw foods.

Image source: Shutterstock


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