We are all aware that is essential to eat vegetables. Vegetables are the most healthy source of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, fibre and some carbohydrates. In addition they also play a medicinal role at times. Vegetables are good for overall metabolism and and weight loss. Mental health improves when we start substituting non vegetarian food with more of vegetables.
However, most of us mistakenly believe that it is raw vegetables and salads which are to be consumed. We also feel that vegetables cannot be cooked in a healthy way and are portrayed as being boring. In fact, it is just the opposite. Vegetables can be cooked to make them very tasty and also healthy. It is just that we do not know how to cook them. Either we eat them raw or we overcook them. Both these methods are not correct. Eating raw vegetables all the time has some associated health problems over the long term and may cause some gastrointestinal tract related problems or even indigestion. In addition, the risk of picking up infections and bacteria is much higher in food which is not cooked.
Therefore, it is essential to eat cooked vegetables. Raw salads once in a while are fine. These are also good as an accompaniment at times. But most of the times it is essential cook vegetables properly. Cooking has three main benefits:
a) Cooking enhances the effectiveness of vitamins and micro nutrients and releases them for effective use.
b) Cooking ensures that the body absorbs most of the nutrients from the vegetables. Just having nutritious food is not enough. Absorbing it in the right way and in larger amounts is the key to eating well.
c) Vegetables which are cooked well have minimal amount of unwanted bacteria or germs as they get killed or neutralized. Therefore, we always say that heat your food well before you eat it. This is as much for taste as it is for hygiene.
The best way to cook is very simple. Add a little cooking oil of your choice in a pan. You could also use clarified butter (ghee) or butter. Do not use margarine. Heat the cooking medium and lightly saute the vegetables till around 70% cooked. If you like them crunchy, then you may cook them less. Make sure you do not overcook your food or use too much cooking medium.
Cooking in this fashion has some good benefits:
– Some amount of fat is required to increase absorption of antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins from the vegetables. Adding some cooking medium aids this process as fat is a carrier for such nutrients.
– Better absorption, lubrication, assimilation and elimination. This ensures keeping away from problems like constipation, sounds in the stomach, unwanted gas, fissures, etc.
– Cooking vegetables will also ensure that you kill unwanted germs. Your food becomes safe, healthy and tasty. This is because cooked food always tastes better than raw food.