Move Over, Crudite

By Scott Boulbol

New research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that cooking some veggies boosts nutrient levels. The study, which compared broccoli, carrots, and zucchini, found that boiling, steaming, and even frying actually increases the levels of certain groups of antioxidants. “This research is impressive in that it measured very specific antioxidants that are crucial in preventing disease,” says Sarah Krieger, RD, a dietitian in St. Petersburg, Florida. “It appears that cooking may break up the chemical matrix of some veggie cells, freeing more antioxidants for the body to absorb.” Of course, eating vegetables any way is better than not getting them at all. But here’s how to cook three favorites to boost their antioxidant content:

Broccoli
How To Cook It: Boiled or steamed
Why? 31 percent increase in glucosinolates, which have been shown to help prevent certain cancers, and a 32 percent increase in carotenoids, which boost vitamin A production in the body

Carrots
How To Cook Them: Fried or steamed
Why? 61 percent increase in caffeic acid, which helps fight cardiovascular disease as well as certain cancers

Zucchini
How To Cook It: Boiled or steamed
Why? 20 percent increase in beta-carotene (a carotenoid)