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February 24, 2013

Raw or Cooked: Which Vegetables Are Healthier?

Have you always wondered how to prepare vegetables in order to maximize their nutritional content? There's no easy answer, since cooking powers up the nutrients in some vegetables—and does the exact opposite in others.
"Some produce is most nutritious uncooked, while other kinds need heat to bring out the best in them," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a registered dietitian with a practice in Chicago. From asparagus to tomatoes, here's how to get the most from your farmers' market picks.

Asparagus

Eat it: Cooked
Steaming that asparagus ignites its cancer-fighting potential.

Beets

Eat them: Raw
Beets lose more than 25 percent of their folate when cooked. Eating them raw will preserve this brain compound.

Broccoli

Eat it: Raw
Heating deactivates myrosinase, an enzyme in broccoli that helps cleanse the liver of carcinogens.

Mushrooms

Eat them: Cooked
Heating mushrooms—whether you sauté, boil, grill, or roast them—brings out more muscle-building potassium.

Onions

Eat them: Raw
Just slice and eat: You get less of the hunger-busting phytonutrient allicin when you cook onions.

Red peppers

Eat them: Raw
Their vitamin C breaks down when roasted, fried, or grilled above 375 degrees.

Spinach

Eat it: Cooked
Have it cooked and you'll absorb more calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Tomatoes

Eat them: Cooked
Surprise: When you eat tomatoes cooked, your body absorbs more of their cancer-fighting lycopene.

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