Cooking Produce...Always a bad idea?

I have had many questions from clients regarding whether you should cook produce or not.  You have probably heard that cooking diminishes the vitamins and minerals in foods.  Some people believe that you should only eat fruits and vegetables in their raw state, but this is not true. While some foods become less nutritious with cooking (mainly from boiling, try to steam or lightly saute!), other nutrients actually will become easier to absorb. 

Here are some interesting examples:
  • Heating garlic increases its potential to decrease the risk of cancer.
  • Heating increases lycopene’s availability. Lycopene is an important antioxidant that helps prevent several forms of cancer. The richest, best source of lycopene is found in cooked tomatoes.
  • Steaming broccoli increases its glucosinolates, which may help to prevent cancer.
  • Cooking carrots and zucchini increases antioxidant availability.
  • Canned meats and beans retain their nutrients, including thiamine, as well as freshly cooked meats and beans.  So not better, but not worse.
  • Vitamin A and potassium are not lost during canning. In fact in some foods, such as canned pumpkin, the vitamin A content actually is higher than it is in fresh foods.
  • Canned fish has more calcium than fresh fish does.
  • The fiber content in canned food is equivalent to that in fresh foods. 
  • Cooking methods can change the antioxidant content and type in a food. For instance, cooking garlic in oil creates different antioxidants than the kind created by cooking the garlic in water.
Probably the nerd in me, but I find those things fascinating!  So, feel good about cooking your garlic, tomatoes, etc, and email me or comment below with any questions!

Cooking Garlic in a little Olive Oil before adding vegetables - yummy!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you got your daily dose of nutrition!  If you enjoy the blog, please become a "follower" by joining the site in the box to the right.  Also, follow me on twitter @jennasteprd, on pinterest, and like Daily Dose on Facebook (use the boxes on the right)!  Have a great day! ~jenna

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