While there are vegetables that need to be cooked to increase their nutrient content, there are some that are best eaten raw. Some vitamins are lost or at least reduced when food is exposed to heat, just as other nutrients may be enhanced after cooking. But if you’re trying a raw diet, there are several reasons why eating raw vegetables is good for you, including the fact that cooking can affect the following nutrients:
This vitamin is common in citrus fruits, but there are many vegetables that also contain this vitamin, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Just two minutes of heat exposure can reduce 10 percent of vitamin C in tomatoes.
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine
The heat freely destroys this vitamin, which is found in foods like legumes.
Other B Vitamins
Just like thiamine, B vitamins are usually lost when exposed to heat, such as when cooking vegetables, because this group of vitamins is water-soluble. But the loss of nutrients can be reduced if you do not use water in cooking, such as microwave and roasting.
There are various enzymes, such as myrosinase and indoles, which are found in cruciferous vegetables, and which are lost when cooked. These enzymes in Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, cress, and mustard have anti-cancer properties.
It is important to careful planning and research is done before you take on the raw food diet. But even if you won’t be eating everything raw, there are vegetables that are better when they’re left fresh.
Here is a list of vegetables you can keep uncooked to reap the health benefits:
- Jalapeno pepper
- Bell Peppers (all yellow, red and green)
- Green salad
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Summer squash
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
- Green beans
The bottom line is that we need to eat a lot of vegetables, along with fruits, no matter how we prepare them – cooked or uncooked. Garlic is definitely advised by professionals to eat it raw because of its allicin content. This phytonutrient that can kill cancer cells, including lung cancer cells, contains higher amounts when garlic is in its raw form. Cooking can reduce its allicin content – just like onions that contain allicin as well.
Foods high in vitamin C can be eaten raw to take advantage of the vitamins. A healthy diet can consist of raw fruits and vegetables, which can also fight weight gain due to their high fiber content.