Vegetables: Raw or Cooked?

Batching cooking a bowl of lightly blanched (~few seconds) kale. Doing this reduces anti-nutrients (toxins) and keeps in the fridge for a week!

When it comes to eating, we most certainly can eat anything raw or cooked. The choice is ours. We just have to bare the consequences (if any). However, for certain vegetables, I prefer to cook them lightly to reduce anti-nutrients and improve digestibility/nutrient bio-availability. 

These include (and are not limited to):

  1. Kale
  2. Broccoli
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Spinach
  5. Cabbages
  6. Brussels Sprouts

If you haven’t already noticed, most of these vegetables are part of the Cruciferous family and so have high amounts of anti-nutrients like oxalic acid and goitrogens. These prevent the absorption of other nutrients like calcium from your diet (1) and in the long run may cause thyroid issues (goitrogens). (2)

The anti-nutrient contents of these food may be reduced by cooking these lightly. This is done both to reduce the toxins and preserve the vast amounts of nutrients these vegetables offer as well as to improve their bio-availability by making these vegetables more digestible.

Examples of cooking methods:

  1. Light steaming and draining
    – be careful as this is an easy way of overcooking these vegetables too
    – you want the vegetables still ‘crunchy’ and a brightly coloured as opposed to dull and discoloured
  2. Quick blanching
    – this is done by heating a pot of water to boiling and immersing the vegetables in the water for a minimal time (usually <1 min)
    – just long enough for the colour to change to a brighter shade (green, etc) but not too long that the water gets to ‘coloured’ by the leaching of nutrients

Remember to drain away the water, although there may be nutrients in there, the high amounts of anti-nutrients make it not worth drinking/using for other purposes.



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