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We all know that vegetables are great for us and do us a world of wonders, but when it comes to HOW we eat them, we don’t really think about it much at all. The way we cook our food, how long  and at what temperature we cook it changes the way it reacts and digests in our bodies. Below are just some examples of vegetables and how to eat them for maximum health benefits.

CARROT: Cooked.

Cancer fighting properties are enhanced as carrot is cooked.  Researchers in Arkansas found that cooked carrots have  34 percent more antioxidants than raw ones. They also contain higher levels of  falcarinol, the very compound with strong anti-cancer properties.

Researchers of  Newcastle University in the UK believe when carrots are cooked, their composition changes so that they lose their ability to retain water, when that happens the concentration of falcarinol increases.

POTATO: Cooked and cooled.

Spanish research found diets high in resistant starch, which is found in cold rather than hot boiled potatoes (and bananas!!), leads to lower levels of white blood cells, a sign that the body’s immune system is working efficiently.

They believe the effect takes place in the large intestine, where resistant starch ferments after being pushed there from the small intestine.

BROCCOLI: Raw or very lightly steamed.

Make the most of its cancer-fighting nutrients by eating it minimally cooked or raw. It’s abundant in the chemical sulforaphane, responsible for broccoli’s anti-cancer abilities, but researchers say too much heat strips cruciferous veggies off this chemical.  This is because Heat destroys the enzyme myrosinase without it, sulforaphane; formed during the chewing and digestive processes can’t develop.

TOMATO: Cooked

To  Maximise the absorption of lycopene that helps protect against cancer, including melanoma, and heart disease tomato is best cooked. Cooking it increases a tomato’s lycopene content, US scientists revealed that just two minutes of heat doubles the lycopene content and half an hour of cooking increases lycopene levels by 164 percent.

CORN: cooked

U.S. researchers found  the longer corn is cooked, the more its antioxidant levels rise, it rises by a whopping 22% with just 10 minutes of cooking and more than doubling after 50 minutes of cooking.

Cooking  releases a specific and rare antioxidant called ferulic acid and this acid helps fight cancer. Researchers found that it increases by as much as 900 percent after 50 minutes of cooking, however even 10 minutes is enough to increase levels by 240 percent.

Image Source: cyclonebill/Flickr

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