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The Healthy Showdown – Cooked Vegetables Vs Eating Raw

Cooking is a vital part of our food consumption. Oven-cooked and boiled foods are easier to digest, as the energy levels we need to invest in it are lower. We have evolved is such a way that our teeth got smaller, our jaws got weaker and our whole systems aren’t well-equipped to handle raw food.

Thousands of raw food diet fanatics suggest that cooking kills all the nutrients and enzymes in the food and it shouldn’t be part of the healthy recipes in the cook books. Yet it appears that not always raw vegetables are your best choice for healthy snacks. Even though you will have to do some oven cleaning after roasting a badge of veggies, it will be worth it in the long run and here’s why.

Benefits of Oven Cooking

A research paper, published in The British Journal of Nutrition, made in Cambridge, London back in 2008 threw some light on the question whether oven-cooked vegetables are better than their raw version. A group of 200-something people we subject to eat raw food over a period of time. All of them had higher levels of beta-carotene, but lower amounts of lycopene.

What is lycopene? An antioxidant, a red pigment. It’s very common in red vegetables, such as tomatoes, red bell pepper, watermelons. It’s daily intake is connected with lower chance of cancer or heart disease, as a number of high level institutions prove so.

What’s more, the sole way to significantly boost lycopene levels in food is cooking it. The reason behind this fact is that the plant’s cellular walls break apart due to the high temperatures in the oven chamber and improves the intake of nutrients inside these walls.

Oven Maintenance in Relation to Thermal Preparation Methods

The benefits of oven cooking prove to be real and there to grab, but you can’t take the best advantage of them, when using dirty appliances. Even though you intake more nutrients with cooked foods, every time you actually prepare them leaves behind a mess of charred stains in the cooker’s chamber. Food splatters, dirty spots and greasy grime will get you back to square one in terms of cooking healthy. Make sure your oven is well cleaned of dirty spots, as they can seriously affect its performance. Professional London oven cleaners say often that this procedure should happen often enough, at least once a month, even though you don’t need a strict kitchen cleaning schedule to keep everything in order.

Find the Right Cooking Method

What’s more, cooking many other veggies, such as peppers, cabbage, carrots, spinach or mushrooms will get you the recommended daily amount of ferulic acid or carotenoids. That is if you cook them right. Studies show that boiling and steaming are much better in preserving nutrients than frying. Each vegetable has its best way to cook – either roasted in the oven, boiled or steamed.

You’d want to avoid free radicals, that form because of highly-heated oxidized oil (deep frying). Not to mention the oil splatters everywhere around the hobs and nearby kitchen shelves. Cleaning the cooker hobs will take much more time than cooking in a slower way.

The Downside of Eating Cooked Food

Nothing is all sunshine and rainbows, and cooking has also a pretty steep downside. It can easily eliminate any vitamin C, stored in the vegetables. What’s the reason? Its instability. Subjected to heat, vitamin C easily degrades, whereas if cooked in water, it simply dissolves – still not good.

Yet, the loss of vitamin C can be bearable, as lycopene happens to be rarer, whereas you can find that many vegetables and fruits are stacked with copious amounts of vitamin C.

Enzymes, such as myrosinase that breaks down glucosinates in broccoli, die off when cooked. The compound sulforaphane that emerges after myrosinase finished its deed, may actually help with lowering the risk of stomach cancer and ulcers.

There’s no doubt that vegetables rank high in the list of healthy foods to eat. Yet, it’s very difficult to compare which way it’s going to be healthier – raw or oven cooked food. There are many compounds, enzymes and nutrients that react differently within our organisms. One of the best possible conclusions here is – eat your fair share of raw and cooked vegetables for the most optimal results.

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