Vegetables: Raw Or Cooked Healthiest?

Healthy eating: Which vegetables are raw or cooked healthier

Raw food and vegetable drinks are healthy, no question about it! With some types of vegetables, however, it is still worth cooking them because of the vitamins. Or to fry, like potatoes…

How should I prepare which vegetables so that they are particularly healthy?

Raw makes you happy – at least that’s what stars like Demi Moore or Gwyneth Paltrow said. Raw food experts like Dr. Norman W. Walker from the USA.

Are you still allowed to bring out the pan and saucepan for your vegetables with a clear conscience? “Absolutely,” says nutritionist and ecotrophologist Iris Lange-Fricke ( “The ideal menu consists of 30 to 50 percent raw food. The rest should preferably be cooked.”

The expert also explains why: “Some nutrients such as protein, beta-carotene, and certain enzymes can be absorbed much better by the body when the food is cooked. Also, many people get stomach problems from eating too much raw food.” Because in order to break down and process the plant fibers, the gastrointestinal tract is much more stressed than with cooked vegetables.

However, raw food definitely has its advantages: It ensures a long-lasting feeling of satiety. In addition, heat-sensitive vitamins and minerals are retained in the vegetables, which are quickly lost during cooking.

Lange-Fricke, therefore, recommends: “When you cook your vegetables, don’t drown them in water. Vegetables need color and bite, then they also have flavor and nutrients. You get both best by stewing or steaming.”

Our expert reveals which vegetables are worth leaving the stove cold for – and where a little heat is the better choice.


The sensitive love it in a tender way

Raw: The green leaves contain plenty of iron, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and beta-carotene. Nutrients that are fully available to the body in the raw version.

Cooked: Spinach contains oxalic acid, which causes blunt teeth and prevents calcium absorption in the body. This acid is broken down by heat. The disadvantage: spinach quickly loses its valuable nutrients when it is cooked.

Conclusion: Best eaten raw or briefly blanched or steamed. Only heat frozen spinach, do not boil.


Better not to get to them too soon

Raw: The tuber contains the poisonous alkaloid solanine. The potato starch is only broken down during cooking. Before that, the potato is inedible.

Cooked: Most of the vitamin C, potassium, and protein contained is in the skin, so prepare it unpeeled if possible. If they are to be pieces: it is best to cut them into small pieces!

Conclusion: Thin pieces of potato with skin that are only briefly heated in hot, high-quality oil are ideal. Lower in calories, but also full of nutrients: jacket potatoes. The best choice: Homemade fries – with skin!


She acts tough but is sensitive

Raw: The peppers are packed with heat-sensitive beta-carotene and vitamin C. Both are quickly destroyed during cooking. The problem: the hard shell is difficult for most people to digest raw.

Cooked: In the water bath, the nutrients die a quick death. Better: sauté or bake the peppers briefly in a little oil until the skin turns brown and then peel.

Conclusion: If you can take it, bite into the raw peppers. The briefly baked pod is more digestible and still healthy.


Anyone who gives it steam will be richly rewarded

Raw: Iron, calcium, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and glycosinolates (protect against colon cancer) come together in broccoli. The heat-sensitive substances are only fully preserved when raw. The catch: uncooked cabbage causes flatulence.

Cooked: The heated florets are easier on the stomach. So that the nutrients are not lost in the water, broccoli is only briefly steamed or steamed.

Conclusion: After a short steam bath, broccoli is most digestible, but does not lose its valuable vitamins.


Hot carrots are looking for tender fat

Raw: That’s right, carrots contain a lot of vitamin A and beta-carotene and are therefore good for the eyes – as long as we dip the carrot in some oil beforehand. Vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble vitamins and would simply go unused without the right accompaniment.

Cooked: The nutrients in the carrot are fully available when they are briefly heated. As with the potato, the following applies: leave the skin on, because this is where most of the vitamins are found. But: Cooked in a pot, many nutrients are released into the water. That doesn’t happen in a pan or steam cooker.

Conclusion: carrots are best served briefly steamed with a little fat or steamed with butter.

Onions and garlic

Need warmth, give sharpness

Raw: The contained sulfides develop their full antibacterial, vascular-protecting effect even in the raw state. But: Garlic and onions are not well tolerated when uncooked and quickly cause flatulence.

Cooked: The duo is much more digestible when cooked. If both are not heated too sharply, the healthy ingredients are not lost. Dark roasted, they become bitter and develop carcinogenic substances.

Conclusion: Glassy onions and slightly brown garlic are ideal. Especially when searing meat, the two are therefore only added at the end.


The stove is off today

Raw: Fresh zucchini contains magnesium, iron, vitamin C, and potassium. The body can already fully absorb and utilize all the nutrients when the greens are still in their raw state.

Cooked: For those who find zucchini a bit too bland when eaten raw: the pumpkin plant develops more flavor when heated, but the valuable nutrients break down just as quickly. Therefore, the following applies: brevity is the spice.

Conclusion: The green stick is unbeatable as raw food, for example in a salad seasoned with a little chili. But also steamed briefly with a little oil, the zucchini provides plenty of minerals and vitamin C.


Hot, hotter, tomato!

Raw: This red marvel contains almost everything: vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and our best weapon against cancer, lycopene! Unfortunately, it also contains the toxin solanine, which is hidden in the green parts of the tomato – which is why they always have to be removed.

Cooked: The cancer-preventing lycopene becomes even more available to the body when the tomato is heated. So that the other nutrients are not completely lost, the nightshade plant is best steamed first and then further processed.

Conclusion: This is what makes our red Minister of Health unique: She loves to be cooked and gets even healthier with every minute in the hot pot. Pasta with tomato sauce? Great, this makes the tomato even healthier

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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