A healthy diet is always defined as a balance of a variety of food, fruits and vegetables being the most important component of it. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into our daily diet is important for good health, as they offer a good mix of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are plant chemicals that provide various health benefits, like antioxidant properties. Not to forget that fruits and vegetables are low in fat, sugar, and salt, and are an excellent source of dietary fibre. We have heard and read that consuming fruits and vegetables in their raw form is the best option, but it is not always the case. Also, Indian cooking tradition mostly involves cooking of all the vegetables, which again may not be a great practice either.
Is It Better To Eat Fruits And Vegetables Raw, Or Cooked?
There are many foods that are commonly consumed in both the ways. Generalising these fruits and vegetables into either category is not right. It’s a fact that some, not all foods are better eaten raw. Likewise, other foods have to be cooked to make them more palatable. Eating raw foods lets us reap the nutrients in their robust form, which cooking can destroy, but cooking also destroys bacteria and breaks down hard proteins of the food, making them easier to digest.
The two sides fight a seesaw battle, and it seems to be never-ending. But we can sort out this conundrum in our daily life by understanding the kinds of foods that can be demarcated as good for cooking and good to eat raw.
Which Foods Are Better Eaten Cooked:
Weight Management expert Gargi Sharma says, “With some foods, the cooking process can actually enhance their nutritional value by making them easier for the body to digest and release their nutrients.” These foods are:
Tomatoes contain lycopene and they are absorbed properly when cooked. While tomatoes are widely used raw in salads, as their vitamin C content is high in this state, cooking makes lycopene more available. Lycopene is a non-provitamin A carotenoid that helps regular blood pressure and improves bone health. So, tomatoes can be both cooked and eaten raw, however you like it.
Orange, green and red vegetables:
Vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, and bell peppers, contain carotenes, which can break the bond between beta carotene and protein, releasing more antioxidants for our body. So these vegetables are better consumed after cooking.
Spinach contains oxalic acid which interferes with the absorption of nutrients. Cooking methods like steaming and sauteeing help neutralise the acid and lets the body absorb other essential nutrients like calcium, iron and antioxidants.
Which Foods Are Better Eaten Raw?
Gargi Sharma also says that “Cooking some vegetables and fruits in water destroys its nutrients, so they are better to eat raw.
It is better to eat foods that are rich in water soluble vitamins like Vitamin C in their raw form as cooking can destroys vitamin C. Fruits like strawberries, oranges, grapefruits and kiwis, and vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and cucumber can be eaten raw.
Knowing which fruits and vegetables are best consumed raw and which are best cooked will help you plan your diet in a better way.
(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)