With summer saying goodbye, salad season is on its way out. But that doesn’t mean your intake of veggies needs to decrease as the days grow colder. In fact, putting them in warm dishes can actually increase their nutrient levels! These veggies all get a little healthier when they’ve been cooked.
Tomatoes are great for versatility. The little guys can be turned into soups and sauces, and are also wonderful in pasta dishes, salads, and just on their own. Although raw may seem the healthiest way to have a tomato, exposing them to heat actually helps the cell walls break down and release lycopene which can combat cancer and cardiovascular disease.
We’re all for using baby spinach as a lettuce substitute in our salads, but steaming the leafy green can actually be even better. Doing so reduces the vegetable’s oxalic acid (which interferes with your body’s absorption of iron and calcium) by up to 53%. Plus, cooked spinach has more calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Celery can be found in salads and juice, but have you ever considered cooking this crunchy veggie? If not, you should. The antioxidant levels increase when celery is microwaved, pressure-cooked, griddled, fried, or baked. But avoid boiling as this actually reduces antioxidants by 14%!