Some vitamins and minerals can interact with other nutrients in our diet and increase or decrease our bodies’ ability to take them (or bioavailability).
Cooking some foods can often bring out their bioavailability, but some foods are better when eaten raw. So here are the foods that shouldn’t be cooked to maximize their bioavailability.
1. Brussels sprouts
Like other crucifers, Brussels sprouts have potential anti-cancer health benefits, and they are also high in vitamins C, K and B, folic acid and vitamin B6. People taking anticoagulants should ask their doctor’s advice before eating Brussels sprouts because vitamin K has a blood-clotting factor. They are most often cooked, but in that way, they usually lower their bioavailability. You can just chop them raw and eat like a salad or any other raw side dish.
If you eat raw broccoli, you’ll get a maximum of its bioavailability. Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which with the help of myrosinase, blocks the growth of cancer cells and fights Helicobacter pylori, bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. Myrosinase is really sensitive to heat and destroyed during cooking. Of all the cruciferous veggies, broccoli has the highest amount of carotenoids, which may help in reducing the risk of renal cancer and lung cancer.
Raw cauliflower keeps the most antioxidants overall, so don’t cook cauliflower in water because of losing these antioxidants and minimizing its bioavailability. Low in fat and carbs and high in dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate, cauliflower packs a powerful nutritional punch, in addition, to having all the cancer-fighting compounds found in other members of its family. For a tasty different raw cauliflower treat, try grating it.
4. Red Peppers
Red peppers are rich in vitamin C, polyphenols, carotenoids, and other phytochemicals. Raw red peppers contain more vitamin C because vitamin C breaks down when cooked. Do not cook red peppers, because when cooked, red peppers lose the most of their nutrients, antioxidants and available bioavailability.
In addition to its possible cancer-fighting health benefits, cabbage is a great source of vitamins C and K, containing more than 20 % of the daily value for each per serving. Cabbage has also been used throughout history as an herbal remedy. As we cook it, vitamin C lowers, and also its bioavailability.
Seeds are high in healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and vitamin E, that can help keep your brain and heart healthy. Raw seeds are also high in protein, zinc, which is good for your immune system, and have been linked to lower levels of the bad LDL cholesterol. Mix them into a paste similar to peanut butter or spread on crackers, toast, and veggies. Just eat them raw because their healthy fats can oxidize and in that way minimize their bioavailability.
Blueberries contain more antioxidants than any other fruit and a decent amount of heart-healthy fiber. They are a natural brain food. You can put them in a freezer but never cook them to maintain their bioavailability at maximum. Blueberries are not a hard one to add to your diet, especially if you buy some fresh organic ones from the farmers market or local store; they’re versatile, and you can never eat too many!