To Cook? Or Not To Cook?

We all have that one friend who swears by Juicing or only eating veggies in their raw form. Green juice junkies and raw vegetable addicts are constantly debating others who advocate for healthy foods on whether your body receives the most nutritional value from their natural form. Raw vegetable enthusiasts believe that cooking vegetables destroy the crucial vitamins our bodies need to help fight diseases and cancer. Most believe that cooking veggies can damage vital vitamins our bodies need. Including essential enzymes and antioxidants that are necessary for our everyday health.

Are these raw dietary junkies on the upside of the debate?

The British Journal of Nutrition published a study that found that people who religiously followed a raw food diet consistently obtained regular levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A. They also have lower levels of the antioxidant lycopene. High Lycopene levels have been linked with having a decreased risk for heart attacks, help with several types of Cancer and are a huge factor in cutting down systemic inflammation. Lycopene is known as one of the most powerful antioxidants measured in food. It has been helpful in the treatment of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Lycopene also has major benefits for male infertility treatment. Cornell University's professor of food science states that Lycopene maybe more potent than Vitamin C.

Lycopene is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are plant pigments that are responsible for bringing out the color in fruits and vegetables. It brings out the red, orange, and yellow hues in tomatoes. If you eat too many fruits and vegetables containing Lycopene in excess amounts it can leave your liver and skin with a yellow tint to it. Other carotenes are converted into vitamin A Where Lycopene isn’t. This makes Lycopene unlike any other carotenes.

What fruit and vegetables contain the highest amount of Lycopene?

Vietnamese Gac fruit carries the highest concentration of the carotenoid lycopene. This fruits color ranges from pale yellow, bright orange and deep red. Their color is directly linked to their structure. Carrots and tomatoes are also on the higher end of the scale.

Are Cooking Veggies the most beneficial for your health?

Scientists have established that although they have found various significant benefits to vegetables in their natural state, that having a healthy balance of both has the most valuable benefits. Heating your vegetables slightly helps break down most of the plants' vigorous cellular structure. The heating process helps absorb more nutrients by breaking down the plant’s massive cell walls. While heating water is one of the most damaging methods to lose nutrients while cooking. Steaming is the most beneficial method to retain the most nutrients. Grilling, roasting, and stir-fry are found to be great nutrient-rich cooking methods as well.

While cooking some vegetables can enhance the nutrients content, heating other vegetables can destroy and alter the nutrient composition of others. Life always about maintains an even balance to maximize the full benefits.

back to top