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Raw vs. cooked veggie and fruit?

Toni-Ann DiSantis

Raw vs. cooked veggie and fruit? Both are beneficial!

The quest for the fountain of youth may be futile, but the produce aisle is a good plan B. From red tomatoes and dark-green spinach to orange peppers and purple grapes, the rainbow of offerings provides nutrients and fiber that give you the energy you need to live a full, active life while also helping to prevent chronic illness. Both raw and cooked veggies and fruit have benefits. While some nutrients, like vitamin C, break down with cooking, others are retained or even increase with cooking. For example, the beneficial plant chemical lycopene, present in tomatoes, increases when the tomatoes are cooked. For mental health, however, raw veggies and fruit may be especially beneficial, according to a recent study. Among more than 400 participants surveyed, eating raw produce (up to 6.5 daily servings) was linked to lower symptoms of depression and anxiety and higher levels of positive mood, life satisfaction, and “flourishing” (a term used to describe feelings of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment) compared with eating cooked or processed vegetables. Researchers ruled out a number of variables, such as participants’ exercise habits, sleep patterns, and other diet patterns, but bigger and better-designed studies are necessary to explore the results. Our advice? Include plenty of raw and cooked veggies in your diet. Snack on apples and carrots, roast broccoli and cauliflower for dinner, make lots of veggie-filled soups, feast on green salads…the possibilities for delicious, plant-centric meals are endless.