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9 Foods That Are Healthier When Cooked

Justina Huddleston is an editor and the head writer for TDmonthly Magazine. She has been a freelance writer for several years, though her real passion is cooking. You can see the recipes she creates on her vegan food blog, A Life of Litt...

#2/11:

Potatoes

#2/11:

Potatoes

Admittedly, we don't know many people who are trying to eat potatoes raw, but it's worth noting that clearly they are better for you when cooked. What you might not know is you can combat some of the starches by cooking and then cooling potatoes, which can help prevent spikes in blood sugar. So turns out potato salad is not the worst idea.

#4/11:

Carrots

#4/11:

Carrots

Levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts into vitamin A, increase when carrots are cooked.

#5/11:

Spinach

#5/11:

Spinach

Spinach shrinks when you cook it, meaning you can eat more. Spinach is also rich in folic acid, which helps maintain your adrenal and nervous system. To get the most out of your spinach, lightly steam it to preserve as much folic acid as possible. Overcooking spinach can reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals you absorb when you eat it. 

#6/11:

Asparagus

#6/11:

Asparagus

Fibrous asparagus has tons of nutrients, but needs to be cooked if you want to be able to absorb them. Much like tomatoes, asparagus has thick cell walls that need to be broken down by heat so all those healthy nutrients can be absorbed. 

#7/11:

Pumpkin

#7/11:

Pumpkin

Not that you would necessarily try eating raw pumpkin, but in case you get the urge to try it, don't. Winter squashes need to be cooked so you can absorb the beta-carotene and antioxidants within. Your body has a hard time absorbing the nutrients in pumpkin when it's raw, but if you cook it and break it down a little, your body absorbs all of that delicious, healthy goodness. 

#8/11:

Mushrooms

#8/11:

Mushrooms

Because of their toughness, it's hard to metabolize the nutrients in 'shrooms unless they're cooked.

#9/11:

Kale

#9/11:

Kale

When kale is cooked, its cholesterol-lowering properties are unleashed.  But similar to spinach, don't overdo the cooking. Just a light steam is best. 

#10/11:

Broccoli

#10/11:

Broccoli

Any way you slice it, broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse. Raw, it offers sulforaphane, which helps fight ulcers and can kill precancerous cells; cooked, it produces indole, a compound that also helps kill precancerous cells.

#11/11:

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