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What Are the Best Vegetables to Eat Raw? Find Out Here

What Are the Best Vegetables to Eat Raw? Find Out Here

Vegetables are a vital part of any healthy diet for individuals of all ages. But did you know that their nutritional value can differ depending on whether they are cooked or not? What are the best vegetables to eat raw, and which are better cooked?

When a vegetable is cooked or put under heat, it can have a significant effect on vitamin content. In some cases, it may be better to consider eating vegetables raw to extract maximum health benefits. Here are some of the best vegetables to eat raw.

Best vegetables to eat raw

Kale

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that appears in pasta, salads, and soups. However, it may be one of the best vegetables to eat raw. It is a good source of vitamins K, C, A, and B6. It is also rich in fiber, folate, and manganese.

Although raw kale may be difficult to chew at first, you can cut them into very thin slices to make it easier.

Carrots

Carrots are not only a good source of vitamin A but one of the best vegetables to eat raw. A cup of chopped raw carrots contains 1069 mcg of this useful vitamin. Vitamin A supports eye health and helps the immune system function properly. Munching on raw carrots is much healthier than snacking on high-sugar foods. You can also add raw carrots to your salads.

Spinach

Spinach offers a wide range of health benefits. It is one of the leading sources of lutein, a carotenoid that promotes healthy vision and reduces the risk of macular degeneration. It’s also one of the best vegetables to eat raw.

In a study, researchers found that the lutein content of baby spinach dropped 40% after four minutes of boiling, more than 60% after two minutes of frying, and about 50% after four minutes of steaming.

To extract the most lutein from spinach, it may be helpful if you ate it raw or added it to a salad or sandwich. You can also put the chopped spinach in a juicer.

Parsnips

Parsnips are root vegetables that are packed with several vitamins, fiber, protein, among many other health benefits. They are also naturally sweet, making them one of the best vegetables to eat raw.

Lettuce

Lastly, lettuce is one of the best vegetables to eat raw. These crunchy leaves are high in nutrients and low in calories, making them the perfect leafy green for your salad.

What is the best cooking method for vegetables?

While it is best to eat some kinds of vegetables raw, what is the best cooking method if you want to cook your vegetables? There does not seem to be a single best cooking method covering all kinds of vegetables.

In a study, researchers tried to study how blanching, boiling, microwaving, and steaming affected the vitamin content of select vegetables. The researchers found that the results depended heavily on the type of vegetable and cooking process, suggesting that a one-size-fits-all approach will not apply.

For example, microwaving vegetables led to higher retention of vitamin C compared with boiling. On the other hand, crown daisies and mallows that were cooked via microwave saw the greatest loss in vitamin K, but this cooking method caused the least vitamin loss for spinach and chard.

Key takeaway

In sum, eating vegetables raw is just one of the many ways to get these useful nutrients into our system. So don’t limit yourself to eating vegetables raw. You can always experiment with various cooking methods to add flavor to your dishes and shake up your daily meals.

As long as you’re having the recommended two to three cups of vegetables per day, the way it is cooked shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Learn more about Nutrition Facts here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Kale, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/kale/ Accessed July 18, 2021

The pros and cons of root vegetables, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-pros-and-cons-of-root-vegetables. Accessed July 18, 2021

Chopped, uncooked spinach offers more antioxidants, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/chopped-uncooked-spinach-offers-more-antioxidants Accessed July 18, 2021

Effect of different cooking methods on the content of vitamins and true retention in selected vegetables, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6049644/ Accessed July 18, 2021

Only 1 in 10 Adults Get Enough Fruits or Vegetables, https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html Accessed July 18, 2021

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Written by Sandra Sendingan Updated Feb 15
Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen