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Raw Vegetables Not Always Healthier

Lamar-based Extension specialist says heating vegetables doesn't always cook out nutrients.

Which is better for you: raw or cooked vegetables? The answer may surprise you, says a University of Missouri Extension nutrition and health education specialist.

“We’ve always heard that raw vegetables are healthier than cooked because cooking destroys nutrients. In some cases that’s not true,” Tammy Roberts said.

For example, cooking tomatoes actually increases the amount of lycopene, the chemical that gives the tomato its red color. Studies have linked intake of lycopene, an antioxidant, with lower risk of cancer and heart attacks.

“Antioxidants help prevent or repair damage to body cells, which is important for decreasing risk of cancer,” Roberts said. “They are also thought to improve immune function.”

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Posted on May 20, 2011.

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