Green smoothie. Sticks and dips. Blanched. Stew. Salad. Stuffed. We all enjoy our veggies in different ways. Did you know that there are veggies that move up the nutrient values chart when cooked? Here are six of them.
We tend to dice or slice tomatoes into our salads and sandwiches, but did you know that the cancer-fighting lycopene in tomatoes increases by 30 percent when cooked? Raw tomatoes have thick cellular walls that make it hard for the body to absorb lycopene. More reasons to make your own tomato soups or pasta sauce, right? And yes, you’d be better off avoiding canned tomato purees and ketchups.
Try This: Roasted Eggplant Pizza
Not only are these orange-hued veggies rich in beta-carotene; an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A in your body, essential for eye health, immune system and healthy skin), carrots are high in fiber too. By cooking them, the amount of beta-carotene your body is able to absorb increases and plus, these hardy sticks become easier to digest.
Try This: Chow Mein Noodles
These leafy greens are loaded with iron (probably why Popeye’s muscles bulged each time he downed a can of spinach!), calcium (yes, non-dairy sources exist), folate; important for cell growth and reproductive health, and magnesium which supports healthy muscle and nerve function. If you realise, a whole bunch of spinach wilts to a tiny bit when cooked so you’ll find yourself having more. Not to worry, you’re eating too much leafy greens - said no one ever.
Try This: Spinach-Mushroom-Tofu Quiche (dairy-, egg- and gluten-free!)
The nutty, buttery flavour of pumpkin makes it great for purees (that even your baby will love!) and nourishing soups. Like carrots, these are rich in beta-carotene, which are easier to absorb once it has been cooked. Tip: Cut a whole pumpkin into halve or quarters, boil them with the skin and scoop out the soft flesh for your pumpkin-tastic recipes!
Try This: Spicy Pumpkin Soup
Big and brown, fan-shaped or those with tiny, white caps, mushrooms are flavourful, nutrient-rich and make great meat substitutes. Go on a culinary exploration and try the different types, from shiitake, enoki, Portobello, oyster, creminis and button mushroom!
Now, let’s be honest. Raw kale isn’t the most palatable. Good news: cook them and your tastebuds will thank you. Packed with a whole load of fiber, this trendy food’s cholesterol-lowering compounds soars when heated.
Try This: Kale Crisps