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These Vegetables are Better for You When Cooked!

By Sara Butler

You may be under the impression that raw vegetables are the gold standard when it comes to nutrition, but that's simply not true. There are many vegetables that, upon being cooked, unlock all kinds of nutritious secrets. Here are a few vegetables that can be enjoyed raw or cooked but will be easier to digest, a little tastier, and a little better for you when you heat them up.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are good for you, in part, because of the lycopene they contain. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been linked to a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Raw tomatoes have lycopene, but when they're cooked, the thick cell walls that hold it inside are broken down, releasing it and making it easier for your body to absorb. Lycopene is better absorbed by your body when you eat it along with healthy fat, so add a little extra virgin olive oil for good measure.

Spinach

Don't worry, you don't have to give up your spinach salad lunch, but you should think to add some cooked spinach to the things you eat in order to take full advantage of its nutritious benefits. Uncooked spinach is high in something called oxalic acid, which doesn't allow your body to absorb all the calcium and iron it provides. If you can steam it, then it can drastically increase the number of nutrients your body can absorb from it. Plus, have you ever noticed how much spinach shrinks when you cook it? That only means you can eat more of it!

Celery

Celery is known the world over as a popular health food, but it becomes even better for you when you cook it! You can increase the antioxidants absorbed from celery when you bake it, microwave it, fry it, or pressure cook it, but not when you boil it. So, stay away from boiled celery or you'll actually lose nutrition.

Green Beans

OK, so not a ton of people are going around eating raw green beans, but it's worth mentioning that this food is better for you when it's cooked -- cooked the right way, that is. Green beans will have higher levels of antioxidants in them if you can bake them, microwave them, or cook them on a griddle. Putting them in a pressure cooker or boiling them will actually strip nutrients from them, so be careful how you cook them!

Vegetables are good for your health no matter how you enjoy them. Yet it's still good to know how you can get the most nutritional bang for your buck!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mission Viejo, Calif.

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