It seems like raw food is a trend on the up with promises of weight loss, improved health and improved digestion.
Obviously a lot of foods need to be cooked in order to make them safe for consumption, but when it comes to vegetables, are there any scientifically based benefits to holding, or turning up the heat?
The case for keeping it raw
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound found to fight cancer cells, lower blood pressure, and improve heart health. A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that consuming broccoli raw absorbed sulforaphane quicker and in higher quantities than when it was boiled.
Red peppers have a high level of vitamin C in its raw form, however when it is cooked at a high temperature for a prolonged period of time, for example, when they are roasted, they can lose this level of vitamin C. Instead try eating them raw for maximum benefits or quickly fried or grilled to ensure you're still locking in the goodness.
Garlic contains allicin which has been shown to strengthen your immune system and lower cholesterol. Completely raw garlic can be pretty hard to stomach, so try adding it in toward the end of your cooking.
Cook it up
Although crunchy, raw carrot batons are a tasty and popular snack, by cooking carrots our bodies find it easier to benefit from their antioxidants, such as beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A.
Turns out getting saucy could be good for you! When tomatoes are slow roasted or cooked into a sauce with olive oil, the cell walls are broken down which in turn helps our bodies absorb the antioxidant lycopene.
Let's face it, a diet full of a wide variety of vegetables is a good one, so try not to get too hung up about how you're consuming them. There's benefits to both cooking vegetables and keeping them raw, so use the knowledge you have and get a good mix of vitamin boosting raw and antioxidant rich cooked veg!