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5 Foods That Are Healthier Cooked

5 Foods That Are Healthier Cooked

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.

Read on to discover some of the vegetables that are healthier cooked.

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1. Spinach.

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.

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2. Kale.

Raw kale is harder on your digestive system than the cooked stuff. But it’s also less nutritious; cooking kale increases its levels of vitamins A, and K, as well as  fiber.

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3. Mushrooms.

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.

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4. Tomatoes.

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.

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5. Carrots.

Carrots might not help you see in the dark, but they will help improve your vision thanks to high levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that youe 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.

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Green Kitchen Tips, Health, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian, , , , , , , , , , ,

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

1017 comments

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8:26AM PDT on Jun 21, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

2:42PM PDT on Jun 17, 2014

Good to know!!

4:12AM PDT on Jun 10, 2014

Surprising about the tomatoes and carrots but love all those things. Thanks for the info.

5:15PM PDT on May 28, 2014

Thanks for the info. I've always preferred cooked kale and carrots, and now I understand why.

6:12AM PDT on May 28, 2014

YUMMY! Thanks

10:53AM PDT on May 24, 2014

Interesting and useful! Thanks!

11:23PM PDT on May 21, 2014

Thank you for a good article. I didn't know that kale and spinach are better for you cooked.

12:44AM PDT on May 3, 2014

steamed vegetables are nice, too

12:02AM PDT on May 3, 2014

Thank you for sharing.

5:16AM PDT on Apr 19, 2014

cooking, steaming (and baking too for that matter) kills vitamins, antioxidants and enymes

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