Turn up the heat: vegetables that are better to eat boiled

DEthiologists say that it is raw vegetables that cleanse our body of harmful toxins and nourish it with a huge amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Only fresh vegetables contain rutin, which strengthens the walls of blood vessels, and a full set of phytonutrients that increase the body’s immune functions. Foods that contain glucose and fructose (bell peppers, lettuce, green peas) are not friendly with high temperatures. However, there are exceptions to each rule – some vegetables bring maximum benefits when cooked. Just about them and will be discussed.

The bigger, the better?

One of the most common food systems in the UK is called five-a-day – that is how many servings of vegetables and fruits WHO recommends to eat per day for an adult. The total weight of five servings should be about 400 grams (more, but not less). This includes all raw, boiled, stewed, fried, dried and canned foods, except for starchy root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, and others). True, the inhabitants of Foggy Albion, as well as the inhabitants of the rest of the world, ignore these recommendations.

Experts advise to heavily lean on raw vegetables and fruits, although there are contraindications to their use. For example, beets, cabbage, tomatoes, turnips and even cucumbers should not be eaten by people with gastritis, high acidity and stomach ulcers. But you should not be very upset about this: most of the listed products are much more useful in boiled form. In addition, in the spring, nutritionists generally do not recommend eating last year’s raw vegetables and fruits. Apples, say, for three months of storage lose almost the entire supply of vitamin C. And carrots, beets, potatoes do not acquire very useful properties at all: they accumulate salonin – one of the strongest teratogens (agents that cause congenital malformations), but when heated, it breaks down and becomes safe for the body. So it is not only possible, but also necessary to subject some products to heat treatment.

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Raw fruits and vegetables do not give us all the vitamins they contain – some of them travel through our body “in transit”. The reason for this is the presence of a fiber matrix: its thick walls are not destroyed in the digestive tract. Due to the fact that vitamins are reliably “walled up”, they simply cannot be absorbed. During heat treatment, the matrix becomes less dense and easily part with its contents, and the product is enriched with antioxidants.

Carrots are the richest source of beta-carotene, which is converted in our body into vitamin A – a powerful fighter against free radicals. When cooked, the level of this substance in carrots increases significantly. Judge for yourself: by eating one raw carrot, we will replenish the supply of beta-carotene by 5%, and pre-cooking will increase this figure to 20%. Impressive, isn’t it?

Carrots also contain lutein, a pigment that has excellent antioxidant properties and is especially beneficial for maintaining visual acuity. It is not synthesized in our body, getting into it only with food. After cooking, the lutein content of carrots increases by 11%! So feel free to add it to soups and stewed vegetable side dishes.


It would seem that tomatoes certainly do not belong to the category of vegetables that need to be thoroughly warmed up in order to become as useful as possible. But no! Tomatoes contain the most valuable antioxidant lycopene, which is an excellent prophylaxis against many chronic diseases and has good antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that this substance is much better absorbed after heat treatment. True, in fairness, it should be noted that the vitamin value of tomatoes decreases when baking, stewing or boiling. So we suggest making your tomato diet in a 50/50 ratio.

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Heat treatment in onions increases the concentration of selenium, a trace element responsible for the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system and increasing immunity.


The health benefits of spinach can hardly be overestimated. Magic green leaves are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron and iodine, contain vitamins B, PP, A, C and E, and even outstrip the legume family in terms of protein! During the cooking process, the cell walls of spinach are destroyed, as a result of which a person can receive as much as 25% more carotenoids (plant pigments with excellent antioxidant properties). In addition, after cooking, the amount of calcium in it will triple! In general, spinach soup is quite appropriate in the menu of those who not only monitor their own weight, but are also puzzled to get the most out of their diet.


Of course, pure boiled onion is an amateur’s pleasure. However, in soups, casseroles, vegetable stews and other dishes, it is quite edible and even gives a pleasant aftertaste. Heat treatment in onions increases the concentration of selenium, a trace element responsible for the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system and increasing immunity, as well as calcium. Lutein, choline (vitamin B4) and vitamin K also become significantly more than in raw vegetables.


People have known about the benefits of cabbage since time immemorial. Even in the writings of the medieval doctor Avicenna, there was a list of diseases that he recommended to treat with the help of this vegetable. And no wonder! It contains an impressive part of the useful elements of the periodic table, proteins and plant fibers. In early spring, during a period of acute vitamin deficiency, nutritionists recommend preparing sauerkraut soup once a week. True, it is not worth storing it in the refrigerator, because this way it will lose all its beneficial properties: at low temperatures, vitamin C is quickly destroyed and after a day it becomes 90% less. It is for this reason that such a soup should be cooked at once.

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During heat treatment, cabbage is deprived of a rare vitamin U – a substance that disinfects harmful compounds that have entered our body and has excellent healing properties. But the amount of choline, vitamins C and PP increases almost threefold after cooking. Moreover, after heat treatment, cabbage does not irritate the stomach and is much easier to digest.


After boiling, beets retain their beneficial properties almost 100%: they contain a huge amount of B vitamins and mineral salts, which are not sensitive to high temperatures. The vegetable also contains betaine and minerals, which are much better absorbed after cooking. By the way, betaine is a unique substance that is almost impossible to find in other products. This compound aids in protein absorption and stimulates liver function. In addition, beets help cleanse the kidneys, blood and strengthen the walls of blood vessels.

Text: Natalia Kapitsa

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