June 9, 2008

Numbers Game: Answer

Researchers at England’s Institute of Food Research concluded that our bodies absorb 500 times more betacarotene from cooked carrots than raw carrots.

(NOTE: “Cooked” mainly refers to steaming, which retains more nutrients than boiling).

Although certain cooking processes -- mainly boiling and frying -- can deplete some nutrients, quicker methods which do not place food directly in contact with water, like steaming, increase many nutrients' absorbability.

Phytonutrients like lutein and lycopene, for instance, are more absorbable in cooked, rather than raw, vegetables.

It is believed this is due to cell walls -- which contain many of these compounds -- breaking down when exposed to high temperatures.

Don't get me wrong. Raw vegetables are still nutritious and should be part of a healthy diet.

However, the raw food's movement claim that cooked vegetables are "nutritionally inferior" is completely misguided.

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