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Consumer Reports: Veggies that are more healthy cooked than raw

Can't get enough of fresh fruits and veggies? Before you take your next bite, be sure to check out the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list for 2017, which ranks produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticides. EWG analyzed pesticide residue testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration to come up with the following rankings for these popular fresh produce items.

We all know we should eat our veggies. And most of us think raw is probably better than cooked. But, that’s not necessarily so. Consumer Reports tells you which veggies to cook to get some surprising nutritional benefits.

Since forever, kids have been told to eat their veggies including calcium and iron rich spinach. To get the maximum benefit blanch the leaves lightly and then plunge them into cold water. That reduces the levels of an acid present in raw spinach that inhibits absorption of its nutrients. For some vegetables cooking breaks down the cell walls and that makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients.

Take carrots for instance. When you cook them, you absorb about 14% more of the carotenoids, the antioxidants that they contain.

Cooking white mushrooms just about doubles their levels of important nutrients like potassium, niacin, zinc and magnesium.

The list goes on – boiling asparagus just until they turn bright green boosts cancer fighting antioxidants and phenolic acid.

And the same goes for tomatoes! One study found that cooking boosts the disease fighting antioxidant called lycopene by about 35-percent AND creates a deeper more intense flavor experience too! Consumer Reports recommends roasting them for about a half hour at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep in mind though that cooking veggies also can destroy some vitamins. For instance the level of vitamin C goes down quite a bit in cooked tomatoes. So it is important to eat a wide variety of vegetables both cooked and raw to get as much of their good nutrients as possible.

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