What is good ultimately - Raw vegetable or cooked vegetable? Certain nutrients available in raw food are sensitive to heat. The microbes or the good enzymes that are good for the body, get killed by the heat, thereby stripping the fruit or vegetable, of its nutritional value.
While onions have the ability to take maximum heat without losing the microbes, the garlic is believed to lose its potency when cooked, hence suggested by experts to be added to the dish at the fag end of any preparation. Some vegetables have to be cooked, in order to make it easy for the digestive system. For example tubers like potato, sweet potato or even vegetable like beans, broccoli, peas etc. are barely edible when raw.
Kevin Meehan, a holistic practitioner and founder of Meehan Formulations in Jackson, Wyo., believes there are nutritional benefits in lightly cooking some vegetables. “In the case with many vegetable types, the heat breaks the cell wall, which liberates its carotenoid content, making this more bioavailable for us when we consume them,” shared Kevin Meehan. For example, when peppers are cooked, Meehan says, their vitamin C content chemically decomposes, but their carotene availability increases. (Source: medicaldaily.com)
Best way to preserve vitamins in the food is to use them when fresh; prefer steaming over boiling or frying; and avoiding overly long cooking times. Minerals are said to be not lost due to heat, but are usually leached if cooked in boiling water, steaming is probably the best cooking method with respect to mineral loss.
Thoran or dry vegetable dish from Kerala, is meant to be the ideal way of cooking. Thorans take the least amount of heat, time and water, which is considered the best way to retain the microbes, similar to steam cooking. Coconut is another food, which loses its benefits when heated up beyond a certain temperature. Thoran (post the vegetable is off heat) is topped with fresh grated coconut, hence retaining the goodness of coconut intact.
For those watching their weight, eating some raw fruit and vegetables can help fill you up, because raw fruit and vegetables tend to have a higher water content and hence, leave you satisfied for a longer period of time.
All said, balance your diet without tipping the scales towards either extreme – fully raw or fully cooked diet. Raw vs. cooked - This is one debate which can be put to rest with a balanced and harmonious dietary approach.
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