When to Cook Your Veggies
By Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN
Talk to raw-food advocates and they’ll insist that food is most nutritious if it never hits temperatures above 116 degrees. However, the theory that vegetables are healthier raw isn’t always true. The nutrients in some vegetables — including the five mentioned below — become more bioavailable, or readily available for your body to absorb, once they’re cooked.
A landmark study published in 2002 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry first showed that a powerful antioxidant called lycopene is released from tomatoes when they’re cooked. The study found that heating tomatoes at 190.4 degrees for 30 minutes boosted levels of absorbable lycopene by 35 percent. Lycopene has been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration, a degenerative eye disease. In addition, a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition found that folks following a long-term raw-food diet had low levels of lycopene.
These orange beauties get their gorgeous hue from carotenoids, a group of antioxidants. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that cooking carrots increased the amount of beta carotene, a compound that is part of the carotenoid family.
Orange Glazed Carrots
1 pound carrots
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon picked fresh dill leaves
Cut a 1-inch chunk off one end of a carrot at an angle. Roll the carrot a quarter turn and cut another 1-inch chunk at an angle. Continue rolling and cutting all of the carrots into 1-inch chunks. Combine the carrots and orange juice in a large saucepan. Add enough water to just cover the carrots. Add the butter and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the liquid has reduced to a glaze, about 20 minutes. Top with the dill and serve.
This green leafy vegetable is packed with calcium and iron, which are more bioavailable when cooked. Spinach contains oxalic acid, which blocks the absorption of these important nutrients. The good news: Oxalic acid breaks down at high temperatures, so you can reap the benefits of calcium and iron……..
Source: Yahoo Food