Which Veggies Are Healthier Cooked?

Dr. Oz has the answer.

Q: Which veggies are healthier cooked?

Oz Says: Think red and orange. Some compounds in tomatoes and carrots get a boost from the heat. "Vitamins and minerals are usually 'locked' inside fibrous plant cell walls," explains Mary Ellen Camire, PhD, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine. Cooking helps break down these walls so your body can absorb the good stuff — namely, lycopene from tomatoes and beta-carotene in carrots. Eggplants and artichokes also get better under fire (not that you'd eat them raw). Just beware: Certain prep and heating methods destroy vitamins. Use these strategies to keep a happy nutrient balance.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Helpful Tips

  • Steam, stir-fry, or roast. Methods that use high heat retain vitamins better than stewing over low heat or boiling for a long period of time, says Camire.
  • Roast veggies in big chunks. The smaller you cut them, the more of their healthy ingredients you lose to air and heat.
  • Heat carrots to help you better absorb nutrients that may lower cancer and heart disease risk.
  • Cook tomatoes to unlock lycopene, which may help protect against strokes and heart disease.
  • Keep the skin on when roasting eggplant to preserve more of the vitamins.

This story originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

The hottest ticket in daytime TV can be yours. Make your free appointment to see The Dr. Oz Show in NYC: www.doctoroz.com/tickets


Get the Print & Digital Editions and Save 81%! You'll receive instant access to the latest issue before it hits the newsstands.

Order Now

More from Dr Oz The Good Life: