You’d be forgiven if you thought that raw is always healthier than cooked. For many fruits and vegetables that’s certainly the case, but it’s not always the case. Cooking some vegetables actually breaks down their tough cellular structure and makes it easier for the body to absorb nutrients. Of course, by cooking we mean cooking them the right way. Cooked kale may be healthier than raw kale, but deep-fried kale isn’t better than a raw kale salad. And, sure, if you love your raw kale salad and you can’t stand steamed kale, by all means, keep eating those salads. In the end, though, the best thing you can do is rid yourself of the idea that raw is always healthier than cooked.
Cooking spinach boosts your body’s ability to absorb all of the fantastic nutrients this leafy green is loaded with, like calcium, iron, magnesium, lutein and antioxidants like beta-carotene. The amount of calcium, for example, actually triples when you cook spinach.
Thanks to its high fiber content, steamed kale can aid in lowering cholesterol. Raw kale also has some cholesterol-lowering effects, but not as much as cooked kale according to whfoods.
Cooking mushrooms isn’t just the healthier option, it’s also the safer option. There are several types of mushrooms that are only safe to eat cooked, and even the ones more commonly served raw, like button mushrooms, are hard on your digestion. Mushrooms have very tough cellular structures, so cooking really does wonders on drawing out their nutrients, making them more digestible, and killing any toxins they may contain.
Cooking tomatoes boosts the amount of lycopene that is released into the body. Raw tomatoes, on the other hand, only release about 4% of this antioxidant that has been linked to lower rates of heart disease and cancer.
Carrots might not help you see in the dark, but they will help improve your eye health thanks to high levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that your body converts into vitamin A. Raw carrots — and the beta-carotene they contain — are somewhat difficult for our bodies to digest. But cooking breaks down the tough veggie and, in turn, boosts their nutritional value.