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 :)

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. :)

*****

Sassy Sez: Hi Patti! Great name! :)

Cooked kale with tahini sauceWhile 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

Comments for Raw versus cooked green leafy vegetables

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kale in smoothies
by: Janna

I have found that kale is the one thing I simply cannot eat in salad form, even with the best dressing and other ingredients. It's just too tough. But it works well in a green smoothie, and that's a great way to eat it raw but make it actually digestible.

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Perfect!
by: Sassy

Thanks, Janna. I concur -- smoothies are a good way to get some greens inside of you! :)
xo

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Raw kale
by: Anonymous

Hi all
I actually enjoy raw kale in salad with a cashew creme sauce or a tiny bit warm with grain tossed in, glazed walnuts, some tiny bits warmed beets and balsamic vinagrette.
Definately have to be in the mood for it though. Usually use kale in smoothies and steam with "no chicken" chicken broth.
Love swiss chard and make tofu, rice and veggie roll ups with it. The rainbow looks prettiest for this!

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raw kale
by: Monique

Raw kale salad is delicious with an avocado dressing....mash an avocado,add the juice of a lemon and a bit of olive oil and sea salt.
Mix kale and plenty of thin slices of onion in a big bowl and massage the avocado dressing into the kale and onions...let it rest for a while and enjoy! will keep in the refrigerator for a few days....

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raw broccoli
by: Janna

While I can't stand raw kale because it's too tough and hard to chew and unappetizing, I absolutely LOVE raw broccoli. I like to buy a big bag of broccoli florets and snack on them all day...alone or with peanut butter or hummus is fantastic. A nice break from baby carrots.

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Yucky kale?
by: Jennie

If your kale is bitter and yucky, it's probably not fresh. Try growing your own - if you pick the small inner leaves and eat it right away, it is tender and sweet. And worth growing your own. If you google "massaged Kale salad" you'll find a great recipe. If you use small fresh leaves you don't even have to massage it - just chop & add other ingredients.

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wilting kale
by: Cheryl

If you let raw kale rest, or wilt, in vinegar dressing, its become far less tough. I wonder, does this also help break down the nutrients and aid in digestion?

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Another reason 2 vs 1
by: Anonymous

Another thing to consider as to why 2 cups raw vs 1 cup cooked is that like any leafy vegetable. Once cooked the volume shrinks incredibly.. particularly true of spinach, curly kale etc. Go ahead try it yourself if you haven't already noticed but hasn't everyone had a huge pot with spinach shrink down to nearly nothing. Well you started with a BUNCH and its still there just without all the air in between ;-)
:-David

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Kale
by: Anonymous

Does one cup raw lake, after cooked, still, for example, provide 90 mg of calcium?

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Raw kale!
by: Anonymous

Should read raw kale.

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Raw vs cooked
by: Jose

Well, my suggestion is: one problem to absorb nutrients we have is, Not chewing properly because bad habits, so for that I recomend any Nutribullet, magicbullet, ninja blender perhaps?,
For flavor you can have raw cocoa+banana. Or strawberry+banana, or a kiwi if you want it green....lets just say you blend it with fruit and nuts that you like , it doesn't take the same time for cooking. I am prediabetic and don't wanna eat sugars or too much fruit, but if you wanna eat your greens, try smoothies, combine berries and nuts to them, you can use vanella stract, cinnamon podwer, or any fruit, besides steamd where you can add hard cheese such parmesan or any low cal cheese on it. Try my suggestion! Enjoy .

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raw kale is good!
by: Steve

I enjoy raw kale in my salads with plenty of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Especially if you let it sit for a short while so the kale softens.

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swiss chard
by: Ms. Veggie ;)

I don't mind kale raw but its Swiss chard I've tried several times small bites and I can't stand it. Swiss chard makes my teeth feel on edge and my tongue disgusted. I can usually eat just about anything but can't seem to figure out how to enjoy Swiss chard. Any ideas on eating and enjoying?
Can a person eat too much dark raw greens? What is a good amount for the day?

Thank you !
Ms. Veggie

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Esmeral Green Veggie Transformations
by: Já

Interesting article that finally puts to rest this very discussion I had with a family member over the summer when I decided to add in kale as a serious part of my diet... She swore it held better nutritional value raw and that these nutrients were still easily accessible in that state. I found the flavor to be spicy & bitter and the texture rough and unnapealing. And believe this is the primary factor that discourages folks from seriously considering it!

I noticed immediately however that when I would "broil" it a bit in a pan with a little olive oil + just enough water to cover the bottom + seasonings of your choice + maybe some mushrooms +garlic if you're hanging out alone (😜) it would transform from its dull grey/cool tone and turn into a very pretty almost brilliant emerald green color. Just then the texture would have become enjoyable & it's flavor improved quite drastically without cooking the heck out of it.

I've also noticed broccoli tends to react the same as well as spinach whereas a more delicate leafy green such as lettuce for example would certainly turn mushy and /Brown almost immediately in a pan ("why would you cook lettuce?" I know, couldn't think of another example) Its just to illustrate a visual cue I found that helped me determine which veggie were likely most beneficial cooked a little or consumed raw. I wonder if others have noticed the same?

Thanks again for your take Sassy , Peace & blessings.

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Kale...to cook or not to cook
by: Anonymous

Just discovered tis page but I like the honest approach. Raw kale is for rabbits....lets face it. I make chips ,torn up, oiled with canola or other non hydrogenated oil, sea salt....my downfall . Chuck in oven at about 325F ( oncookie tray) .Cook, sample now and again for the right crispness for you . when cooled store in small freezer bags...in fridge. Yum. Warning if you are on anticoagulents ie Warfarin Coumadin or otherblood thinners the Vitamin K in kale will act as a blood thickener. Eat a consistent amount daily and get yourblood INR test at regular intervals....this helps you ration your intake
Chow. Jean Palmer .

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Dreaming up my after fast!
by: Denise

Thanks to all! I am living vicariously today, on this 13th day of a 30 day water fast (goal, anyway). I was searching for the best eats or drinks for the first four days. I've found what I feel most comfortable with, but then, googled for more info where the tough raw greens were suggested for 3rd day which seemed a bit of a stretch to me on my recuperating stomach. So, I ended up here.

I've loved this stream, and gathered up ideas for my green eats once I'm past my first 3 or 4 days of my fast.

Can imagine the wonder of eating lightly broiled kale or broccoli (in olive oil with mushrooms and garlic sounds appetizing to me) and kale chips.

Thanks to all! Be blessed as you keep riding the healthy road. - Denise F.

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raw vs low heated?
by: Anonymous

but raw greens have 2x amount of minerals and vits and heating destroys anzyes we need to digest them so..... isn't eating them raw always better?

one doc says cook, one says raw???? Help!

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Raw -v- cooked
by: Steve

So, since the problem or worry is the break down of the stems then putting them in the blender and making a smoothie would be the 'most' healthiest?

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cook the kale
by: Anonymous

Kale when raw has a nutrient that interferes with the thyroid's ability to take up iodine. It's destroyed by cooking, so it's better to eat kale cooked a little bit, especially if you have any thyroid issues.

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Raw versus cooked kale
by: Anonymous

There is no mention of the fact that raw kale, together with other cruciferous plants can cause goitres if eaten in sufficient quantities.

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Raw cruciferous veggies cause goiter; cooking them is a must!
by: Willie

Cruciferous vegetables in which kale is one belong to a group of edible plants in the cabbage family. They are called goitrogenic vegetables. Meaning, they cause goiter, a disease which makes one's neck swell. They do this by preventing one's thyroid from getting iodine. This can not be reversed by taking iodine supplements once the damage is done.

That's why it's a must to cook them in boiling water for 7 to 10 minutes; then drain and squeeze out the excess water which will ensure 90% of its goiter-inducing properties are taken out!

Another bad side effect of eating raw kale is, it will cause one to have kidney stones because raw kale is high in oxalic acid which binds to minerals in our body (viz., calcium & magnesium) & crystalize them.

But don't let this goiter scare prevent you from eating this superfood. You just have to cook them. Teresa Fung, an adjunct professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and a professor at Simmons College in Boston, told WBUR that "normal, reasonable amounts of eating should not be a problem. A regular person [with no thyroid issues] who eats several servings of cruciferous vegetables a week should not have problems."

Sources:

http://deliciouslyorganic.net/green-smoothie-recipe/

http://www.medicaldaily.com/dark-side-broccoli-and-kale-could-cruciferous-vegetables-be-bad-you-267892

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Here is a list of other goitrogenic vegetables that should be eaten cooked
by: Willie

Brussels Sprouts
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Collard Greens
Turnip
Bok Choy
Mustard Greens
Kohlrabi

Source:

http://deliciouslyorganic.net/green-smoothie-recipe/

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Iodine is the key...
by: Sassy

Hi Willie!

Thanks for sharing! :)

I also would like to add that the amount of IODINE you eat is what can make the biggest difference here.

Click here to watch a video about this topic over at science-backed NutritionFacts.org.

xo!

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Set the record straight
by: Alyr

Lots of wrong info here in comments. TOO MUCH OIL! You are damaging your arteries with all that oil and nut based stuff. You are laying the foundation for heart attacks and strokes later in life.There IS NO SUCH THING as a "good oil" and only one ounce per day of nuts and seeds is satisfactory.

Then we have the "Nutribullet" chewing for you. NO. The reason you need to chew your own food is the saliva interaction activating the enzymes and phytonutrients etc. NOT because you're lazy LOL.

You want to eat a pound of raw greens and non starch vegs daily in conjunction with another pound cooked. Eaten together since there is evidence that CHEWING THE RAW also passes some of those enzymes over to the cooked vegs and wakes them up, so to speak.

Also limit fruits to one per day. Today's fruit is MAN MADE and resembles nothing like the fruits that monkey primates and our ancestors ate which was NOT SWEET. TOO MUCH FRUCTOSE! Also a pre-cursor for heart disease especially coupled with all that oil.

The MAIN reason you want to lightly steam your greens is because you can EAT MORE, then, and yes, they are more bio-available in conjunction with raw. NOT just cooked but you need both.

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Kale recipe
by: Eat heathy😊😊stay healthy

We enjoy cooked kale.
Heat 1 table spoon of kale in a pan and then add whole cumin and chopped garlic. Sauté for few seconds and then add 30 minuets soaked split yellow lentil half cup (moong dal which we get in Costco or any Indian Store) and then pre washed fine chopped kale. Add little salt and little turmeric which is very high in antioxidants and antiseptic also. Cover things ghs with lid and simmer the flame. Occasionally stirring the dish . When u it steamed enough to eat .. u can enjoy ur kale as a meal.🙏🏻🙏🏻

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