Friday, March 3, 2017

Lightly Cooked Vegetables are Better than Raw

A lot of people wrongly believe that eating raw vegetables is better than eating cooked vegetables. Oftentimes, people argue that heat will destroy the nutrients in vegetables. This argument, however, is only correct when you cook your vegetables with high heat, say by baking or deep frying (e.g., in Tempura). If you lightly cook your vegetables, you not only will not destroy the nutrients, but will also have many advantages over eating your vegetables raw. The following is a list of the advantages of cooking your vegetables lightly:
  1. Some chemicals, such as lycopene, in tomatoes, will increase after cooking.
  2. Antioxidants may also increase by cooking.
  3. Light cooking does not reduce the available amount of vitamin C by too much. In fact, light heating will break down the cell walls of vegetable cells much more effectively than simple chewing, allowing more nutrients to come out. 
  4. Light cooking reduces the amount of toxins present in some vegetables, such as phytohaemagglutinin in some beans and ginkgotoxin in ginkgo seeds.
  5. Vegetables will shrink and becoming more tender after light cooking allowing you to eat more. Normally, 2-3 cups of raw vegetables will turn into 1 cup of cooked vegetables. So, if you eat 2 cups of cooked vegetables, you are actually eating 4-6 cups of raw vegetables.
  6. Most people will add too much salad dressing (mainly oil) to their raw vegetables. You only need less than 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil when lightly cooking your vegetables. Eating too much oil or fat is a reason for the accumulation of low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) which is a cause of cardiovascular diseases.
  7. Cooking vegetables containing vitamins A, D, E, and K with a little bit of vegetable oil allows these vitamins to dissolve in the oil so that they will be readily absorbed by your small intestine.
I will discuss how we can lightly cook our vegetables in an untraditional, but easy and relaxed fashion in another post. Most American (or even Asian) chefs DO NOT know how to cook vegetables properly! I will also discuss why vegetable oil is a better choice than olive oil, opposite to most so-called chefs have been practicing, for cooking vegetables.  

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