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Effective Monday, July 19, 2021, the following NOH/OMG office locations will no longer provide on-site blood draws: Westlake, Lorain, Olmsted Falls and Dewhurst. Click here for the nearest lab service location. 

Healthy Eating: 7 Veggies You Shouldn't Eat Raw

July 15, 2021

It’s one of the most basic tenets of healthy eating: Eat more vegetables. With summer produce hitting the farmers markets and grocery store shelves, there’s no better time to add more nutrient-dense and colorful vegetables to your plate. But how can you make sure you’re getting the most of the available health benefits?

One of the advantages of eating raw vegetables is there is practically no wait time. You can grab and go. It makes your life easier on even your busiest days.

While there are plenty of vegetables you can crunch into fresh — think carrots, cucumbers and salad greens — there are also some vegetables that need to be cooked in order to provide your body with the optimal health profile.

Here are seven veggies you should take the time to prepare before chowing down.

1. Asparagus

It won’t harm you to consume asparagus raw, but cooking this thin, stalky vegetable first helps your body absorb more of its cancer-fighting nutrients. Try it classically steamed or sautéed with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

If you are going to eat asparagus raw, try peeling thin slices with a knife or peeler. Thin slices will be easier to chew.

2. Mushrooms

Again, mushrooms can be eaten raw, but you’ll receive more of the potassium-rich benefits if you take the time to sauté, roast or grill them. Plus, mushrooms are an easy and versatile ingredient to add to your favorite homemade pizza, stir-fry or pasta dish for a little extra veggie power.

3. Tomatoes

OK, so it’s probably a stretch to say you should never eat tomatoes raw — they are delicious on top of a sandwich, salad, and right off the vine, after all — but your body can absorb more lycopene from cooked tomatoes. Since lycopene is known as a cancer-fighting ingredient, make sure at least some of the tomatoes you eat are stewed up in soup or sauces.

4. Potatoes

You probably wouldn’t want to eat potatoes raw, but there’s actually a very good reason you shouldn’t. Not only do raw potatoes contain toxins and anti-nutrients that can harm your body, but their uncooked starchiness can also cause digestive discomfort. Instead, boil, bake or roast this vegetable.

5. Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts is another vegetable that can cause gas and bloating if consumed raw. Instead, try tossing in olive oil and a little salt and roasting for improved flavor and easier digestion.

6. Broccoli and Cauliflower

Both of these vegetables can be consumed raw — in fact, broccoli can even have more of a positive nutritional impact when eaten uncooked — but many people struggle to digest these cruciferous veggies in their natural state. Try lightly steaming to retain the liver-cleansing enzymes and allow for easier digestion.

7. Spinach

Cooked spinach contains more calcium, iron and magnesium. Even though you probably see it most often as a salad green, try adding wilted spinach to your favorite pasta or as an ingredient in your morning omelet.

The advantages of eating raw vegetables can be beneficial. Raw vegetables are typically easy to eat and save you time because they’re typically ready to eat after a quick rinse.

But cooking some vegetables is sometimes more beneficial than eating them raw, so be sure to at the options and decide which one is more nutritious.

And if you’re looking for more information on eating healthier, our new interactive guide “The Guide to the Dietary Guidelines” can help. Inside you will find the most pertinent information that came out of this year’s updates to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

U.S. Dietary Guidelines