Raw vs. Cooked Broccoli

Raw vs. Cooked Broccoli
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Which results in greater phytonutrient absorption: raw broccoli, steamed, boiled, or microwaved?

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Are nuts healthier raw or roasted, though? And what happens to all the goodness in vegetables when you cook them? Well, a tell-all paper was published earlier this year. You tell me: which is healthier, raw broccoli or fried broccoli? Thought I’d start out with an easy one. Who says raw broccoli? Who dares say fried? 

Of course, raw broccoli is healthier than fried. Six times more nutrition in fresh; measured in total glucosinolate content—the cancer-fighting cruciferous compounds. So, just kick back, and enjoy.

Steamed versus boiled; each for two minutes. Who says steamed is healthier? Boiled? Interestingly, though, it’s not the heat. Steam is actually hotter than boiling water. But, just like much of the nutrition in dark green leafy leaves of green tea leaches into the water (which is good), the nutrition in boiled greens doesn’t disappear; it’s just transferred to the cooking water. So, as long as we’re making dairy-free cream of broccoli soup or something, feel free to boil away; just don’t boil, then throw away the liquid.

Let’s kick it up a notch for this final question: raw, steamed, or microwaved? Which is healthier, based on the amount of cancer-fighting nutrients absorbed into our bodies? Who thinks raw is healthiest? Steamed? Nuked? If you’d been keeping track of these numbers, you’d know… Starts out neck and neck, but then steamed takes the lead!

Wait a second, how can something gain nutrition when you cook it? Because it’s not what you eat; it’s what you absorb. And, cooking can boost the absorption of many important plant nutrients. So, while even light steaming can partially destroy some nutrients, the absorption of the remaining fraction is so boosted that it may even be healthier than raw, based on the latest research.

But, you can overdo it. Look at the microwaving. Microwaving destroys more nutrients than steaming, but has that same absorption-boosting effect; so, we’re basically right back up here where we started. Microwave five minutes, however, and you really do see a detrimental impact on nutritional quality.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Are nuts healthier raw or roasted, though? And what happens to all the goodness in vegetables when you cook them? Well, a tell-all paper was published earlier this year. You tell me: which is healthier, raw broccoli or fried broccoli? Thought I’d start out with an easy one. Who says raw broccoli? Who dares say fried? 

Of course, raw broccoli is healthier than fried. Six times more nutrition in fresh; measured in total glucosinolate content—the cancer-fighting cruciferous compounds. So, just kick back, and enjoy.

Steamed versus boiled; each for two minutes. Who says steamed is healthier? Boiled? Interestingly, though, it’s not the heat. Steam is actually hotter than boiling water. But, just like much of the nutrition in dark green leafy leaves of green tea leaches into the water (which is good), the nutrition in boiled greens doesn’t disappear; it’s just transferred to the cooking water. So, as long as we’re making dairy-free cream of broccoli soup or something, feel free to boil away; just don’t boil, then throw away the liquid.

Let’s kick it up a notch for this final question: raw, steamed, or microwaved? Which is healthier, based on the amount of cancer-fighting nutrients absorbed into our bodies? Who thinks raw is healthiest? Steamed? Nuked? If you’d been keeping track of these numbers, you’d know… Starts out neck and neck, but then steamed takes the lead!

Wait a second, how can something gain nutrition when you cook it? Because it’s not what you eat; it’s what you absorb. And, cooking can boost the absorption of many important plant nutrients. So, while even light steaming can partially destroy some nutrients, the absorption of the remaining fraction is so boosted that it may even be healthier than raw, based on the latest research.

But, you can overdo it. Look at the microwaving. Microwaving destroys more nutrients than steaming, but has that same absorption-boosting effect; so, we’re basically right back up here where we started. Microwave five minutes, however, and you really do see a detrimental impact on nutritional quality.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

More on broccoli cooking methods and nutrient absorption:
Second Strategy to Cooking Broccoli
Sometimes the Enzyme Myth Is True

And for more on the protective properties of broccoli:
Sulforaphane: From Broccoli to Breast
Raw Broccoli and Bladder Cancer Survival
The Broccoli Receptor: Our First Line of Defense
DNA Protection from Broccoli
Prolonged Liver Function Enhancement From Broccoli

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