Raw versus cooked green leafy vegetables
Hello, first thank you for the dedication and information you have taken time to share with all of us strangers :) *****Sassy Sez:
I am confused that on the Vegan Food Pyramid page the suggestion for dark leafy green kale is cooked 1 cup, but raw 2 cups. I was raised to believe all raw food was greater in nutrients than any cooked comparison, so why then is it suggested you eat more of the raw for the nutritional value we need and less cooked? It seems backwards to me.
Please answer asap this is driving me bonkers!
Much thanks, Many blessings,
Patti M. :)
Hi Patti! Great name! :)
While some vegetables might be more nutritious raw, other vegetables do better with cooking to help break down the tough fibers to ease the load on your digestion and make the nutrients more bio-available. Dark green leafies fall into this category.
That's why eating 2 cups of raw dark green leafies like kale
, Swiss chard
, mustard/collard greens
, etc. would be equivalent to eating 1 cup cooked because as they cook the greens wilt and you are left with the same amount of veggies, but they are easier to eat and digest, and the nutrients are more available.
It can be difficult to know which veggies are better eaten raw and which are better and more nutritious when cooked. Honestly, I just follow my instinct. Have you ever tried to eat kale in its raw state? Or broccoli? While you certainly CAN, and some people do and enjoy them in this manner, I find them to be bitter, dry, and just plain yucky. NOT appetizing in any way, shape, or form, so I cook them.
Now, this doesn't mean you have to cook the living daylights out of them. Through trial and error you will find the amount of cook time that is best for your taste buds because, frankly, if you don't like the taste you won't eat them!
I prefer to cook my greens using the pan steaming method, which means I place a small amount of veggie broth (1/8 - 1/4 cup or so) in a large pan, add chopped greens, and cover with a lid. Check in 5 minutes, and again 5 minutes later until desired tenderness is reached. Feel free to add more veggie broth as needed. Then remove from the pan with tongs, plate, and flavor your greens.
Hope this helps, and I'm here with any questions you might have. xo