What's Better: Cooked or Raw Veggies?

Vegetables are certainly better for you raw. Or at least that's what we've been told. There has been an ongoing debate between raw and cooked vegetables. It is believed that cooking can deplete vegetables of their nutrients. While for some vegetables this may be true, it is not always the case.

While some vegetables lose nutrients as they are cooked, others gain them. How can that be, you ask? Let's take a look at these vegetables to see why some are better with a little bit of heat and some are better left alone.



Carrots are best known for keeping our vision in focus. But did you know that eating carrots for healthy eyes is best when those carrots are boiled or steamed? The body converts the beta-carotene found in carrots into Vitamin A. When carrots are cooked, the body is able to digest carrots easier which enhances the body's ability to absorb nutrients.


Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, kale contains what are known as goitrogens. The trouble with goitrogens is they block the thyroid from getting iodine, which is needed to produce the thyroid hormone.  Cooking kale solves the problem, allowing your body to reap all the nutritious benefits. Don't overdo it though! Steam kale for the optimum nutrient content.


Tomatoes get their red color from the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is tough in fighting free-radicals and reduces the risk of disease. When tomatoes are cooked, their lycopene content is enhanced, as well as other phytochemicals.



Broccoli is part of the same family as kale, but is best when eaten raw. How so? The reason is sulforaphane. This compound contains anti-cancer properties that are most beneficial when eating broccoli raw. By eating broccoli raw, you are maintaining the nutrient content, allowing your body to get the most out of what you eat.


Allicin (found in onions) is a component that fights cancer. When onions are cooked, it depletes them of allicin. While cooked onions contain a healthy amount of nutrients, eating them raw is the best way to reap the benefits.


Juicing beets is an excellent way to get a boost of nutrients. Beets contain betalanins, a phytonutrient that with antioxidant properties. By juicing, you are getting a concentrated source of these nutrients. Cooking beets can diminish betalanins and their nutrient content.

When it comes to the debate of cooked versus raw, there is no right or wrong answer. It really depends upon the vegetable. While everyone may have their own preference, the point is, you are eating your veggies.

What are some of your favorite ways to prepare your vegetables?