Cooking with certain foods or ingredients can increase their health value. Other foods will lose their health benefit if cooked. So how are you to know whether or not to cook certain foods? Here is a quick guide as to which foods will become healthier when cooked.
Lycopene is an antioxidant found in foods such as tomatoes, red peppers, and asparagus. Lycopene protects against cell damage which helps protect you from the sun, improves heart health, and lowers the risk of certain types of cancer. Cooking foods rich in lycopene will increase the antioxidant levels by 35%.
Beta-carotene is absorbed better in your system when cooked. This carotenoid is found in sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach. Beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A in our body which is needed for good skin and eye health. It also helps boost our immune system.
Ferulic Acid also aids in better skin health. This compound is found in mushrooms, asparagus, and squash.
Turmeric antioxidants will increase when boiled, as in tea, but heat destroys the available curcumin levels. Use a fresh root or powder of turmeric to make your tea, but also take a curcumin supplement if you want those benefits too.
Indole-3-Carbinol is an extremely powerful anti-cancer compound. This antioxidant is found in cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. Slightly cooking cruciferous veggies will increase their anti-oxidants, but cooking them too long with destroy their benefits. I try to steam these vegetables for 1-3 minutes max.
Vitamin B12 seems to be resilient to heat. Therefore, cooking fish, beef, chicken, eggs, and oysters will not decrease the amount of Vitamin B12.
Cooking These Foods Will Make Them Healthier
- Tomatoes, red peppers, asparagus
- Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach
- Mushrooms, asparagus, squash
- Fresh turmeric root
- Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage
In contrast to improving the health benefits of certain foods if cooked, there are other foods that decrease in value if cooked. We will discuss those in the next blog. For now, try to add a little to heat to the foods mentioned above. Good luck, and enjoy!!