Always cook tomatoes and carrots but eat spinach and peppers RAW: Our expert guide on how to get the most nutrients from your vegetables

  • The raw food diet has been hailed as a great way to shed the pounds
  • Theory is that by eating raw food you preserve vital enzymes
  • But dietitian Helen Bond says some veg is best for us when cooked
  • While others should enjoyed in their raw state to get maximum nutrients 

It has long been hailed as a key to losing weight – turning off the cooker and going back to basics.
The theory goes that by eating food in its raw state you preserve essential food enzymes, which are destroyed during the cooking process.
Followers of the diet boast of higher energy levels, better looking skin, a healthier digestion and weight loss.
And studies have shown plant-based diets can significantly reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
While raw food, no doubt, does have its merits, for most people it is not a sustainable way of eating in the long-term.
Dietitian Helen Bond told MailOnline: ‘What I like is the fact it encourages us to eat more fruit and vegetables and helps to reduce the amount of fat, and added sugar and salt in our diet thanks to cutting back on processed foods.
‘But a diet that is based solely on uncooked food can be very restrictive and boring and not sustainable in the long-term.
‘Plus a raw food diet can leave us lacking in the nutrients needed to stay healthy.
‘There is little, if any, scientific evidence to support claims that eating raw food gives us more energy, better digestion or healthier skin.’
Here, Ms Bond reveals which vegetables are best cooked, and which are best eaten raw…
Best when eaten: Cooked
Lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their colour, is thought to offer protection against certain types of cancer – especially prostate cancer – and heart disease.
Plus, some small studies show that it may even help to protect the skin from ultraviolet light – though larger studies are needed before recommendations can be made.
Although it is an easy assumption that when it comes to nutritional value, fresh fruit and veg always have the edge over cooked or processed, tinned tomatoes prove this isn’t always the case.
They are actually a better source of lycopene than fresh tomatoes because the canning process helps to break down some of the touch cell walls, releasing the lycopene, which makes it easier for the body to absorb.
Like fresh tomatoes, the tinned variety provide useful amounts of beta carotene, vitamin C and just one tinned plum tomato or a quarter of a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes counts as one of your five a day.
Best when eaten: Raw
Broccoli is often hailed a superfood, largely because it contains a healthy dose of sulforaphane – a compound that is thought to help combat cancer.
Research has suggested it not only kills precancerous cells and prevents them from multiplying, but also reduces the risk of stomach ulcers, and stomach cancer.
Studies have shown raw broccoli packs a greater punch of this beneficial nutrient than a cooked portion of the veg.
That is because heat damages an enzyme in broccoli, myrosinase, which is vital in contributing to the formation of sulforaphane.
As a result, the best advise is to lightly steam your broccoli, to ensure you get the best from this super veg.
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Source: Daily Mail