Some vegetables are best boiled, others are best eaten raw. A food expert gives advice, so that you can get the most out of every piece of vegetable.
The 'raw food'-movement is growing rapidly. People claim that we should only eat raw ingredients, because cooked food loses a lot of its nutritional value. Dietician Helen Bond explains to the Daily Mail why that is not exactly true. Because while some foods are indeed best eaten raw, others are better (and tastier) when cooked.
Tomatoes are best boiled. Lycopene, the substance in tomatoe that causes their red colour, is known for its healthy effect against several types of cancer - especially prostate cancer - and heart disease. Although it might seem logical that vegetables are at their most healthy when they are unprocessed and fresh, tomatoes from a can are an exception. Canned tomatoes contain more lycopene, because the treatment process breaks down the cell wall, releasing the substance which is then easily absorbed by our bodies. Of course, this goes for both canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes that you cook yourself.
Broccoli is most healthy in its raw form. Broccoli is often named a 'superfood', because it contains the antioxidant sulphoraphane. This substance is supposed to prevent both cancer and stomach pains. A portion of raw broccoli contains more sulphuraphane than the cooked variety, because heat damaged a certain enzyme in the vegetable which helps to produce sulphoraphane. Because raw broccoli doesn't sound like it's very tasty, you can also steam the vegetable to preserve the right vitamins and antioxidants.
Carrots are best boiled. The amount of betacarotene in carrots increases when they're boiled. Betacarotene is a substance which is converted to vitamin A. Those vitamins can be used for nearly anything in our body: our metabolism, our skin, our eyes and our immune system all profit from it.
Spinach is best eaten raw. What's more, it is a wonderfully nutricious vegetable. The potassium in spinach keeps your blood pressure in check, while the high doses of vitamin A and C strengthen the immune system. Moreover, these greens also provide calcium, magnesium and manganese, which all three provide sturdy bones and a good general health. And that's not all: the folic acid in spinach keeps our immune system in shape, helps against fatigue and makes our cells grow, which is especially important for pregnant women. Spinach also contains large amounts of lutein, which is supposed to be good for the eyes.
Brussels sprouts are a major source of vitamins if they're boiled until they're soft. They are a member of the cabbage family, which are known to contain large quantities of glucosinolates, which have anticancer properties. Furthermore, the Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin C, B6 and folic acid. The tiny green cabbages yield most nutrients when they're boiled for five minutes.
Red bell pepper
Red bell pepper is best eaten raw. Red bell peppers are chock-full of vitamin C and they contain twice as much of it as an orange. Because vitamin C is unstable at high temperatures, a cooked bell pepper can lose a lot of its nutritional value. So eat bell pepper raw or in a salad, or munch on one as a snack.
White, red or green cabbage
Cabbage is best cooked. Cabbage not only contains vitamin B and C, but also betacarotene and lutein, a super-healthy package that boosts our immune system, our skin and our eyes. Don't throw away the outer leaves, because these contain the largest quantity of vitamin C. This vegetable is healthiest boiled or steamed.
Kale is best eaten raw. Kale is healthy for the skin, a good blood pressure and a solid immune system, thanks to the large doses of vitamin A, C and folic acid. About a third of the quantity of vitamin C can be lost if you boil cale, so use as little water as possible and boil the kale for as shortly as possible. It is even better to steam the vegetable.