You may have heard about a raw vegan diet and the health benefits that it can bring. But is it really best to eat all of your vegetables raw?
As it turns out, it may depend on the veggie. Different plant-based foods can have a different nutrition content based on whether they are cooked or not.
It’s not one size fits all for eating raw. Cooking with low heat or roasting your vegetables can help break nutrients down into an easier to digest form, while frying your food can add more oil and fat, according to Global News. Dietitian Shahzadi Devje warns against overcooking veggies, which can diminish the nutrients in your meal.
Here are 5 foods that are good to eat raw and 5 foods that are better to eat cooked. We’ve also included recipes from our Food Monster App that you can use these foods with.
Foods to Eat Raw:
According to Tufts’ Health and Nutrition Letter, onions are healthy both cooked and raw, but raw onions have higher levels of sulfur compounds, which may help protect your body against cancer, reduce “bad” cholesterol production, and lower your body’s blood sugar.
Use raw onions in this Grilled Peach, Red Onion, and Arugula Salad With Grilled Croutons and Sun Gold Tomatoes and this Spicy Cucumber Avocado Onion Salad.
2. Red Bell Peppers
Red peppers are packed with vitamin C, but according to Global News, cooking can decrease the vitamin C content, so it’s good to eat these bright crimson veggies raw.
Try some raw red bell pepper in this Simple Summer Macaroni Salad and this Raw Pizza with Red Pepper Flax Crust.
Roasted nuts are somewhat less healthy than raw nuts, according to Men’s Journal. Roasted cashews, for instance, have more calories and fat than their raw counterparts, as well as having less iron and magnesium.
Eat some raw nuts in this Chocolate Covered Nut Bars or make your own dairy-free salad dressing!
Packed with antioxidants, blueberries are a super-healthy snack! But it’s probably best to eat these fiber- and polyphenol-rich berries raw rather than baked, since cooking can change their levels of polyphenols.
Have some raw blueberries in this Red, White, and Blue Salad With Watermelon Vinaigrette!
Try a kale salad rather than steamed or sautéed kale to get the most out of this leafy green. Cooking kale can reduce its antioxidant and vitamin C content, according to Global News.
Use raw kale to make this Kale Salad With Creamy Ginger Tahini Dressing and this Cheezy Kale Salad!
Foods You Should Cook
Cooked carrots have been found to have more beta carotene than raw carrots, reports SF Gate. Beta carotene is turned into vitamin A in the body, improving the health of your eyes and bones!
Cook up some carrots with these Carrot Dogs and these Roasted Spiced Carrots.
According to researchers from Cornell University, cooking can increase the antioxidants in tomatoes, but it also decreases the amount of vitamin C, Food Navigator reported.
Try using cooked tomatoes in this Creamy Cherry Tomato Basil Soup and this Tomato and Potato Stew.
While you might not think to eat pumpkin raw anyway, cooked pumpkin is still packed with antioxidants which are easier to absorb after the veggie has been cooked!
Try using pumpkin in this Pumpkin Grilled Cheese and this Healthy Pumpkin Pie!
Mushrooms have more fiber when they’re cooked, according to Verywell. When cooked, mushrooms shrink down, allowing you to get more fiber from a given meal. They’re also a good source of protein!
Cook some mushrooms in this Creamy Spaghetti With Wild Mushrooms and this Potatoes and Porcini Mushroom Ravioli in Broccoli Cream Sauce.
Asparagus is packed with antioxidants, along with vitamins A, E, and K, niacin, and magnesium, according to Verywell. When this veggie is cooked, the heat can help break it down, making it easier to absorb the nutrients inside.
Make some cooked asparagus in this Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto and this Pan-Seared Lemon and Garlic Asparagus.
Looking for more vegan cooking info? Take a look at the Food Monster App. With over 10,000 recipes right in the palm of your hand, you’ll always have something delicious and new to try. It’s available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. Full of allergy-friendly recipes, subscribers gain access to new recipes every day.
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