The fact that vegetables are good for health is undeniable. Everyone eats them, only taste preferences can be different: some prefer them fresh in a salad, some are fond of vinaigrette, others cannot live without vegetable soups or pickles, etc.
Vegetables are a source of vitamins, minerals, organic acids, pectin and dietary fiber. In order to absorb all these useful substances well, you need to know how to eat vegetables. We often hear the advice: "Eat lots of raw vegetables."
This statement is partly true. Partly because vegetables aren't always healthier when they're raw. Excessive consumption of raw vegetables can cause exacerbation of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, gases. Vitamins are also not always absorbed by the body if the vegetable is raw.
Heat treatment of vegetables
It is believed that if subjected to heat treatment, vegetables lose a number of their medicinal properties. But this opinion is not entirely true, or at least it is not true for all vegetables. Plant cells in vegetables are covered with cellulose.
This matter is practically not absorbed by the body, which means that a significant part of the biologically active substances under its layer cannot be separated and absorbed by the body. Humans do not have the enzymes to break down cellulose. And then comes the matter of heat treatment, where there is a mechanical effect on the cellulose cells.
This way, scientists have proven that vitamin A is better absorbed from boiled carrots than from raw ones. As a result of stewing or steaming, the carotenes in the carrots become active and the antioxidants are released more easily. If biologically active substances from raw carrots are absorbed by only 5%, then from stewed carrots it is already 50%.
You should also know that in raw carrots the surface layers are the most healthy. It is better to boil carrots whole to preserve the beneficial anti-cancer substance falcarinol, which can be lost when cooked in grated form. Only frying can be considered an unhealthy method of heat treatment. But boiled and steamed, carrots retain their vitamins, as they are fat-soluble.
Broccoli and zucchini also turn out to be more healthy in post-heat treatment. The digestibility of carotenes and antioxidants increases by 30%. But this rule is valid only if the time for preparing vegetables is not long. Steamed vegetables are healthier than boiled and roasted vegetables. And it is not at all good to eat vegetables fried in fat.
Potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes are healthy in baked and stewed forms. The powerful anti-cancer substance lycopene contained in tomatoes is released during heat treatment. Lycopene reduces the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. That is why stewing tomatoes, preparing sterilized tomato juice and puree from them enrich our diet with useful substances dozens of times.
High temperatures can destroy vitamin C in vegetables, provided the heat treatment is prolonged. However, if the vegetable is processed at high temperatures for a short time, vitamin C does not have time to collapse, but rather oxidizes. To reduce the harmful effects for vitamin C, the water should be boiled, salt should be added and then the vegetables should be immersed in it.
Boil the vegetables with the lid closed to reduce the oxidation of vitamin C. The enzyme ascorbinase, which is present in fruit rich in vitamin C, destroys ascorbic acid at temperatures up to 100°C and instantly shrinks at a temperature of boiling, causing no damage to the vitamin. In the pharmaceutical industry, plant raw materials rich in vitamin C are subjected to short heat treatment, but at high temperatures.
The benefits of raw vegetables
Raw vegetables are also very important for the body, but they play a different role. It consists in entering the body of the same fiber, which, although not absorbed by the body, cleanses the gastrointestinal tract. Lack of fiber in the diet leads to chronic constipation as well as intoxication of the body. Cellulose absorbs harmful radionuclides and cholesterol and removes them from the body. Adequate consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables is a good protection against atherosclerosis, hemorrhoids, cholecystitis and intestinal neoplastic diseases.
Vegetables for salads are preferably cut more coarsely to reduce the area of their oxidation by air. Exceptions are onions, garlic and cabbage. In the latter, the grinding and oxidation of the air helps to release the most active phytoncides with antisclerotic and anticancer properties.
Therefore, start preparing the salads with chopped onions and garlic. Garlic can be pressed using a press. Slice the cabbage thinly and mash it with your hands to release its juice. Eat the fresh salad right away to get the most vitamins.
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