Is it better to eat raw or cooked veges?
Q: Is it better to eat raw or cooked vegetables? – Suzanne
This is a question I amso 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.
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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
Black tea and green tea are both produced from the Camellia sinensis 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 ‘WhatAmI Supposed To Eat?’ tour throughout New Zealand. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit drlibby.com
Do your best to eat plenty of colourful veges every day.