Is it bet­ter to eat raw or cooked veges?

Franklin County News - - SPORT -

Q: Is it bet­ter to eat raw or cooked veg­eta­bles? – Suzanne A: This is a ques­tion I am so of­ten asked, and my an­swer is al­ways ‘‘it de­pends’’. The most im­por­tant ques­tion to ask your­self is what nour­ishes you? And the an­swer to this may change over time or with the sea­sons. For ex­am­ple, dur­ing win­ter many peo­ple will find that warm­ing, cooked meals are more nour­ish­ing for them, yet in sum­mer they may feel bet­ter eat­ing more raw veg­eta­bles or cold sal­ads.

If you’re some­one who over­heats very eas­ily, a hot cooked meal might just make you feel even hot­ter, while some­thing like a salad might help to coun­ter­act the heat you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. Or if you have a ten­dency to feel cold, you may find that choos­ing all or al­most all cooked foods helps to warm you up and leaves you feel­ing more nour­ished. Cooked veg­eta­bles also tend to be eas­ier to di­gest, so they may be bet­ter tol­er­ated by peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­ence di­ges­tive symp­toms.

An­other point you may wish to con­sider is the im­pact cook­ing can have on the bioavail­abil­ity of the nu­tri­ents in veg­eta­bles. Some vi­ta­mins are heat sen­si­tive (par­tic­u­larly vi­ta­min C), so cook­ing will lead to some losses.

How­ever, the ex­tent to which heat-sen­si­tive nu­tri­ents are lost de­pends on the cook­ing method; boil­ing veg­eta­bles will lead to much greater losses than lightly steam­ing them, for ex­am­ple. Con­versely, cook­ing veg­eta­bles can in­crease the bioavail­abil­ity of an­tiox­i­dants such as be­tac­arotene and ly­copene. So if both raw and cooked veg­eta­bles nour­ish you, a com­bi­na­tion is great!

But if you feel bet­ter eat­ing only cooked veg­eta­bles, then I en­cour­age you to do just that. To re­tain more nu­tri­ents, avoid over­cook­ing or cook­ing in ex­ces­sive amounts of wa­ter, as wa­ter-sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins can leach out.

Remember, the most nu­tri­tious veg­eta­bles are the ones that you ac­tu­ally eat (and di­gest well).So, rather than wor­ry­ing about whether you should be eat­ing them raw or cooked, just do your best to fo­cus on eat­ing plenty of colour­ful veges ev­ery day. Q: What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween reg­u­lar black tea and green tea? Is it only green tea that has health ben­e­fits? – Sam A: Black tea and green tea are both pro­duced from the

bush, and it is what hap­pens to the leaves af­ter they are picked that de­ter­mines whether they end up as green or black tea. Not only do the dif­fer­ent pro­cess­ing tech­niques af­fect the colour and taste of the teas, they also af­fect the com­po­si­tion (the sub­stances that are present in the dif­fer­ent teas).

Green and black tea have a sim­i­lar caf­feine con­tent.How­ever, this will vary depend­ing on how strong you make your tea. Green tea is richer in polyphe­no­lic com­pounds, such as cat­e­chins and flavonols, and it con­tains a com­pound called epi­gal­lo­cat­e­chin gal­late (EGCG), which is thought to have anti-can­cer ef­fects.

The polyphe­nols that are found in both black and green tea (with green tea hav­ing higher amounts) func­tion as an­tiox­i­dants.

How­ever, they can also bind some min­er­als such as iron and zinc, so it’s best to avoid drink­ing tea with your meals.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this column is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. See Dr Libby live dur­ing her up­com­ing ‘What Am I Sup­posed To Eat?’ tour through­out New Zealand. For more in­for­ma­tion and to pur­chase tick­ets, visit dr­libby.com

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Do your best to eat plenty of colour­ful veges ev­ery day.

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