The Health Benefits Of Raw Versus Cooked Vegetables Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Health, Cooking, Cancer, Internet, Eating, Vitamins, Nutrition, Literature

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/09/28

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Most of us are familiar with the advice that a balanced diet is the healthiest option and that it should contain a good proportion of fresh fruit and vegetables. There is also a body of opinion suggesting that the vegetables element of the dietary intake should be eaten raw rather than being cooked before consumption. This essay examines and discusses published literature on the subject, in order to assess whether it really is healthier to eat vegetables raw, in preference to cooking them.
An article published by the Cleveland Clinic Health Hub reports on a study undertaken by the Imperial College in London, UK, which indicated that eating plenty of vegetables is good for your blood pressure and that eating them in the raw state produced the greatest benefits. The study encompassed over 2,000 individuals from four different countries over a three-year period. The reason given for raw vegetables being the healthiest is that the cooking process modifies the chemical composition of the vegetables, which can reduce the amounts of beneficial antioxidants they contain. Furthermore the loss is greatest for nutrients that are water-soluble, such as Vitamin C. The article also states that the cooking process can make it more difficult for the body to absorb the contained nutrients. On the other hand, absorption of certain nutrients such as carotenoids (contained in some vegetables including tomatoes, and sweet potatoes) is enhanced by cooking those vegetables (“Eating Raw Veggies Best for Blood Pressure” 2014).
Raw vegetables are also preferred to cooked vegetables with regard to cancer risks, according to a literature review published in the September 2004 edition of the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention Journal. The review covered medical literature published between 1994 and 2003 and reported on 28 studies which assessed the relative cancer risks from eating raw or cooked vegetables, and a further 21 studies that assessed the cancer risks associated with eating raw vegetables (but not cooked vegetables). The review concluded that eating either raw or cooked vegetables reduced the risks associated with various types of cancer especially gastrointestinal cancers and perhaps breast cancer, with a bias towards raw vegetables as being the best in that regard. However, the authors did note that because there was considerable variation in the literature reviewed, more research is needed on just raw vegetables risks to reach a definitive conclusion (Link & Potter 2004).
Raw versus cooked vegetables is the issue discussed in a 2014 Health Sciences Academy article, which states that “There are many benefits to consuming raw vegetables, which give you plenty of micro-nutrients and antioxidants.” However, that same article notes that while some cooking methods like deep frying are unhealthy, cooking of certain vegetables (like tomatoes, carrots, peppers, cabbage, and more) increases the availability of the beneficial antioxidants and other nutrients they contain. Furthermore, the best cooking method to use depends to some extent on the particular vegetable and the nutrient wanted. As an example, boiling carrots increases the availability of carotenoids, but destroys the contained polyphenols. So, eat raw carrots for their polyphenols, but cook the carrots to maximize the intake of carotenoids (Ruani, Alejandra 2014).
Having reviewed literature on the subject of the health benefits of raw versus cooked vegetables, it has to be concluded that there is no clear winner. Studies made on this important topic have shown that whilst certain vegetables provide more health benefits and make more beneficial nutrients available when eaten raw, other vegetables release more of those beneficial substances when cooked. However, it should also be noted that the cooking method is an important factor in maximizing the healthy benefits of vegetables in the diet.

Works Cited:

“Eating Raw Veggies Best for Blood Pressure.” (2014). Cleveland Clinic Health Hub. Web. Accessed 17 January 2015. URL: <>.
Link, Lilli B., & Potter, John D. (Sept. 2004). “Raw versus Cooked Vegetables and Cancer Risk.” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention Journal, September 2004 13; 1422. Web. Accessed 17 January 2015. URL: <>.
Ruani, Alejandra. (Aug. 2014). “Raw or Cooked Food: Which Option Grants More Nutrients?” The Health Sciences Academy. Web. Accessed 17 January 2015. URL: <>.

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