You'd probably assume that eating vegetables raw is better for you than eating them cooked, but it is not that straightforward.
Most of us could probably benefit from incorporating more fruit and vegetables into our diets. We are supposed to eat at least five a day but for the most part, that is easier said than done. We know that it's good for us and that it'll make us feel better in the long run, but a lot of the time other foods are simply easier and more accessible.
If you already don't think you eat enough veg, well we might be about to make things a little more confusing. As it turns out, getting five a day in any way that you can might not be the right way to go about things. Different vegetables have varying vitamins and health benefits, as you might have guessed, but how or if we cook them also plays a part in how they help our bodies.
The general assumption is that eating vegetables raw is better for you as cooking them eliminates some of its vitamins. Nicoletta Pellegrini, a professor of food science at the University of Parma in Italy, recently told Time that is not necessarily the case. Pellegrini explained that when it comes to one of the most common vegetables, carrots, there are certain vitamins that the body can't break down and make use of unless they have been cooked.
Broccoli, on the other hand, is different. The green vegetable contains something called glucosinolates which help fight cancer. To help absorb them your body needs an enzyme called myrosinase which is also present in broccoli, but cooking the vegetable destroys it. Apparently, the best way to eat broccoli is to have a little of it raw and to then steam the rest.
As if incorporating the right amount of vegetables into our diet wasn't enough of a chore, there's now the added worry of how we should cook them and in some cases whether we should cook them at all. While a study in the Journal of Food Science goes into much more detail than this following tests on 20 different vegetables, the take home of the study was that the best way to cook vegetables is to microwave or bake them without oil. It does differ from vegetable to vegetable though.