We know that heat can cause a loss of vitamin C and other vitamins, but can cooking have a positive effect? Yes, there are actually vegetables you should cook before you eat them. In some cases, plants contain anti-nutrients (e.g. oxalic acid in spinach), that can reduce your body’s ability to absorb other vitamins or minerals. Cooking reduces the amount of this anti-nutrient. In some cases, cooking can also lead to an increase of other beneficial compounds. Here are four plant foods you should be cooking more often!
We love the taste of a ripe tomato on a sandwich. But occasionally, you should cook them. That tomato-based spaghetti sauce might actually be good for you! Why? Because tomatoes have a specific nutrient called lycopene, a pigment said to aid in the prevention of cancer and chronic illnesses. Cooking can significantly increase the amount of lycopene available for absorption! It’s even better absorbed when you combine it with a healthy fat like olive oil!
Spinach contains the anti-nutrient we mentioned before, namely oxalic acid. Oxalic acid prevents the absorption of calcium by binding to it, making it unavailable for your body. A quick steam of about 7 minutes will reduce the amount of oxalate of up to 50%. Steaming spinach is also better than boiling, as it retains the amount of folate.
For some people, mushrooms are difficult to digest. But this shouldn’t put you off mushrooms. They pack a punch of nutrients and are a great source of fiber, proteins, and vitamins and minerals. It’s the cell walls of mushrooms that make them hard to digest. It consists of myochitin, but this can easily be broken down by heat during cooking. So if you often feel bloated after eating raw mushrooms, try sautéing them first!
Corn is not often referred to as a health food, but eating it has many benefits. It’s high in fiber, which helps your body with digestion. It also provides us with vitamins and minerals. But the real surprise is that corn contains ferulic acid, a phenolic compound that aids in cancer prevention! The compound is bound within the corn’s insoluble fiber, but by cooking the corn, the ferulic acid is released and available for absorption!
What plant foods do you prefer to eat cooked?