The Case for Cooking

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(Part 1 of 2 – Next week – Hoorah for Raw!)

We at Soupure are all about balance – we are not fans of all or nothing attitudes or anything in the extreme.  Often people are searching for one specific way to eat—raw, vegan, Paleo, and so on—and it’s usually whatever is the new trend. What we discovered in creating our soups is that healthy eating doesn’t fit into a tiny box. Food isn’t totally “good” or completely “bad.”  Fruit isn’t the devil, and neither is (natural) sugar. Fat is your friend (at least certain fats)! And, while we understand from the raw food movement that cooking inhibits certain vitamins and minerals (more on that next week!), it turns out that some foods are actually more nutritious when gently cooked.  Our case for cooking, in a nutshell boils down to this.  Cooking makes certain foods safer to consume and more digestible.  Cooking helps us digest food without expending huge amounts of energy. It softens food that our small teeth, weak jaws and digestive systems aren’t equipped to handle. The reason behind this is that the heat gently breaks down the plants’ thick cell walls and aids the body’s uptake of some nutrients that are bound to those cell walls.   According to Rui Hai Liu, an associate professor of food science at Cornell University, boiling and steaming better preserves and releases certain antioxidants in foods.  Amongst the vegetables that benefit from cooking are:

1. Tomatoes.

Cooking actually boosts the amount of lycopene in tomatoes. Lycopene is a red pigment found predominantly in tomatoes and other rosy fruits and veggies.  Several studies conducted in recent years have linked high intake of lycopene with a lower risk of cancer and heart attacks.  Liu says that it may be an even more potent antioxidant than vitamin C.  Raw tomatoes, on the other hand, only release about 4% of this antioxidant.  So, indulge in our Vibrant tomato basil soup.

2.   Spinach.

Cooking spinach allows your body to more readily absorb all of the fantastic nutrients this leafy green is loaded with, like calcium, iron, magnesium, lutein and antioxidants like beta-carotene. In fact, the amount of calcium TRIPLES when spinach is cooked. Our savory Satisfy lentil, here we come.

3.   Kale.

Thanks to its high fiber content, steamed kale can aid in lowering cholesterol, and steaming kale actually helps break down its tough walls and makes it more digestible.  All hail kale in our Robust kale minestrone soups.

4.  Carrots

Carrots improve your eye health through its high levels of antioxidant, beta-carotene which your body converts into vitamin A. Cooking breaks down the tough veggie and, in turn, makes them more nutritious.  Indulge in our Prevent carrot ginger turmeric soup.

6.  Mushrooms.

Cooking certain mushrooms isn’t just healthier for you, it’s safer for you too!. There are several types of mushrooms that are only safe to eat cooked, and even the ones more commonly served raw, like button mushrooms, are hard on your digestion. Mushrooms have very tough cellular structures, and cooking draws out their nutrients, making them more digestible.  Boost your way to a healthier you with our Boost pumpkin miso.

Other vegetables that supply more antioxidants to the body when cooked than they do when raw include asparagus, cabbage and peppers.  But, remember to boil or steam, and not fry your veggies (more on this later but deep frying foods can cause the release of free radicals, due to the oil being continuously oxidized when heated at high temperatures. These radicals can injure cells in the body.

Happy souping!


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