Project Body Smart | Myth: Raw Vegetables Are Always Better For You than Cooked Ones
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Myth: Raw Vegetables Are Always Better For You than Cooked Ones

Ask The Scientists – Health and Science Education

The truth about raw vs. cooked vegetables is complicated. It depends on the specific vegetable, the nutrient in question, and your method of cooking.

Nutrients like beta-carotene are more bioavailable from cooked carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, and peppers than from the raw vegetables. But, it is also true that cooking destroys much of the vitamin C and polyphenol content.

Another important carotenoid, lycopene, is also more bioavailable when the food source (i.e. tomato) is cooked. Broccoli is a vegetable that provides more of some healthy nutrients when cooked, and more of different healthy compounds when raw.

So, the answer to whether vegetables are healthier when raw is yes, no, and maybe. And, the best way to ensure you get all the health benefits is to eat the recommended servings of fruits and veggies no matter how they’re prepared. The more ways you make them delicious and inviting to you, the more likely you are to eat them.

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