We all know that vegetables are good for us. They’re packed with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that our bodies need to function properly. But did you know that certain vegetables are actually better for you when cooked and should not be eaten raw in high quantities?
That’s right! Cooking can actually increase the nutrient content of some veggies and reduce toxins, making them more easily absorbed by your body. So, which vegetables should you avoid eating raw?
Ten Vegetables You Should Never Eat Raw
Not all vegetables are best eaten raw. The cooking process will break down hard-to-digest sugars and kill any natural toxins.
Tomatoes (I know, they are not technically a vegetable) are a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal. But did you know that they’re actually richer in nutrients when cooked? That’s because cooking breaks down the cell walls of the fruit, making it easier for your body to absorb the lycopene (an important antioxidant) and other nutrients.
Tomatoes contain cancer-fighting compounds. Lycopene is more bioavailable when tomatoes are cooked, so eating raw tomatoes may not give you all of the cancer-fighting benefits that cooked tomatoes can provide.
Raw potatoes are unhealthy for you. They contain a lot of starch that your body can’t digest. This uncooked starch can lead to digestive distress, kidney stones, and even food poisoning.
Raw potato can also lead to solanine poisoning. Cooking the potatoes breaks down this starch, making them much easier on your digestive system.
Raw Cruciferous Vegetable
Like leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are also extremely healthy. They contain sulforaphane, a substance that has been shown to have cancer-preventing properties.
However, these vegetables also contain goitrogens, which can interfere with thyroid function if you consume too much. It’s best to cook them before eating.
Raw kidney Beans
Red kidney beans contain a poison called lectin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other foodborne illnesses. Cooking helps destroy this poison, so make sure to cook them thoroughly before eating.
Raw spinach contains oxalic acid, which can interfere with calcium absorption and your immune system. This means that if you eat a lot of raw spinach, you might not get all the nutrients you need.
Cooking spinach breaks down the oxalic acid, making it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients.
Another example of a green vegetable that contains oxalic acid is Rhubarb leaves. Oxalic acid hinders the body’s capacity to absorb calcium which is especially dangerous for kids and pregnant women.
Raw Lima Beans
Lima beans, like many other beans, contain a compound called linamarin. When consumed, the human body converts linamarin into hydrogen cyanide—a deadly poison. The good news is that cooking Lima beans for at least 10 minutes destroys the linamarin.
Raw Fava Beans
Fava beans, also known as broad beans, contain a compound called fava bean agglutinin. This toxin is destroyed by cooking, so it’s perfectly safe to eat fava beans that have been properly cooked.
Eggplant belongs to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. These vegetables contain solanine, a compound that can be toxic in large amounts. Cooking eggplant properly can help reduce the levels of solanine, making it safe to eat.
Cabbage is a leafy vegetable that’s often eaten raw in salads. However, cabbage is also a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. These vegetables contain compounds that can go bad when they’re not cooked properly.
When cabbage is cooked, these compounds are broken down and become harmless.
Other vegetables that are better cooked include broccoli, cauliflower, celery, green beans, wild mushrooms, young eggplants, raw yucca and peppers.
Though some of these raw veggies still don’t cause much harm, it’s still better to cook them before eating. Some of these vegetables are poisonous if consumed raw and can cause serious health and digestive problems. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry and eat vegetables after cooking them.
What Are the Benefits of Cooking Vegetables?
Cooking vegetables has many benefits. Cooking or heating food can help to:
- Make them more digestible
- Destroy harmful compounds
- Destroy harmful bacteria
- Enhance their nutritional value
- Improve their flavor
Health Benefits of Eating Raw Vegetables
While some vegetables are better cooked, other foods are best eaten raw. Raw foods can provide you with important nutrients that cooking can destroy.
Raw Vegetables Are a Great Source of Fiber
Fiber is an important nutrient that helps to keep you regular and can also lower cholesterol levels. Raw vegetables are a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which are important for good health.
Raw Vegetables are a Great Source Of Minerals and Vitamins
Raw vegetables contain more vitamins and minerals than cooked vegetables. Vitamins and minerals are important nutrients that your body needs to function properly. However, many vitamins and minerals are lost during the cooking process.
This means that raw vegetables can provide you with more of these important nutrients than cooked vegetables.
Raw vegetables provide many antioxidant benefits. Antioxidants are substances that help to protect your cells from damage.
Raw Vegetables Help to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Diseases
Raw vegetables are a good source of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are substances that occur naturally in plants.
Some of these substances have been shown to have health benefits, such as reducing disease risk.
Eating Raw Vegetables Help You with Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, eating raw vegetables can be a great way to help you reach your goals. This is because raw vegetables are low in calories and fat and high in fiber. Fiber helps to keep you feeling full, so you’re less likely to overeat.
Raw Veggies are a Great Source of Water
Raw vegetables are also a great source of water, which can help to keep you hydrated. When trying to lose weight, it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough water.
Which Vegetables are the Healthiest to Eat Raw?
Some vegetables, like carrots, celery, and cucumbers, are generally healthier when eaten raw.
These vegetables are low in calories and fat and high in fiber and nutrients. So, if you’re looking for a healthy snack, these raw vegetables are a great choice.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a compound that the body converts into vitamin A. This vitamin is important for vision, immune function, and cell growth. It’s also rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage. Cooking carrots can destroy some of the beta-carotene.
Celery is a good source of fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium. It also contains compounds that may help to lower blood pressure. These compounds are destroyed when celery is cooked.
Cucumbers are a great source of hydration, as they’re made up of 96% water. They’re also low in calories and a good source of vitamins C and K. Cucumbers are best eaten raw to get the most benefit from their nutrients.
Eating vegetables is an integral part of a healthy diet. Some vegetables are best eaten cooked, while others are best eaten raw. The best practice is to eat various cooked and raw vegetables to get the most benefit. If you’re looking for a healthy snack, you can always go for a vegetable salad. For more nutrients and flavor just add an olive oil dressing and you are good to go.