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5 Vegetables You Should Be Cooking as Well as Juicing

It’s easy to go a little juice-crazy. We’ve certainly been there – that point where you start wandering wide-eyed through the produce section, hoping for a new “find” to grind away in your juicer.

And juicing is great, but the truth is – certain foods offer different nutritional benefits depending on whether they’re cooked or raw.  Some of Mother Nature’s best foods are hands down best consumed raw – take garlic, for example, you’ll get the most of its cancer-fighting benefits when it’s tear-inducingly raw.

But some veggies have nutrients that are maximized when lightly cooked. It doesn’t mean the raw version isn’t good for you – most of these veggies swing both ways – but simply that you get different nutritional benefits depending on whether it’s raw or cooked.

Okay, let’s get started, yes?

Asparagus: Better Raw or Cooked?

Asparagus really swings both ways. On one hand, cooked asparagus supplies more cancer-fighting antioxidants than they do when raw since cooking makes it easier for your body to benefit from these protective antioxidants, especially the ferulic acid found in asparagus.

On the other hand, when consumed raw – asparagus keeps its high levels of folate, an essential B vitamin crucial for brain health. Plus, juicing too much asparagus can come with a pretty weird side effect.

Our take: Asparagus juice is not the yummiest tasting juice – but cooked asparagus is damn delicious! We prefer it cooked.

Broccoli: Better Raw or Cooked?

Broccoli is equally beneficial whether it is raw or cooked. In its raw form, broccoli contains the enzyme myrosinase, which cleanses the liver of cancer-causing toxins. Raw broccoli also delivers more sulforaphane, an important cancer fighting compound. The levels of these nutrients are decreased with cooking.

But while cooked broccoli has lower levels of minerals, it is richer in antioxidants as well as folate. So broccoli is in fact healthy whether it is raw or cooked.

Our take: Both juice it and steam it!

Carrots: Better Raw or Cooked?

Carrots are great raw, but when cooked – they release more beta-carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A in our bodies. This nutrient protects us from environmental damage and as such possible protects us from cancer and heart disease.

Our take: Carrots are also root veggies (more sugar content than most veggies) so we’d recommend juicing them raw occasionally and cooking them mostly. Cooking methods that best preserve the antioxidant quantities are boiling or steaming – not frying.

Spinach: Better Raw or Cooked?

The raw vs cooked spinach debate has been around for awhile but most of it is focused on oxalates. Well, turns out there’s another great reason to steam or boil your spinach. ‘Though raw spinach is still good for you, cooked spinach makes it easier for your body to absorb the calcium spinach contains.

Our take: Juice spinach occasionally but mostly – eat it cooked. Calcium is essential for bone strength, so make sure you get the most out of your spinach. Steam your spinach rather than boiling it to avoid losing nutrients. Plus, cooked spinach is mighty delicious!

Tomatoes: Better Raw or Cooked?

One of the main benefits of tomato juice is the high lycopene content. Eating lycopene-rich foods reduces the risk of getting cancer or heart disease. Interestingly, cooked tomatoes have a higher level of lycopene than raw tomato juice. This is because the heat from cooking breaks down the thick cell walls, releasing the nutrients that are bound to the cell walls.

However, if you are focusing on the Vitamin C content of tomatoes, then it is better to have raw juice as the Vitamin C levels in tomatoes decrease with cooking.

Our take: Both juice it and cook it!

Comparing the healthfulness of raw vs cooked vegetables is a complicated, often inexact science. The simple bottom line is:

  • Juice your veggies
  • Eat your veggies

And do both of the above every day.

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