Is Broccoli Healthier Raw or Cooked?

Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-packed foods you can eat. Some even consider it a Super Food. One of its greatest benefits is that it contains a large amount of sulforaphane – a compound that’s believed to stimulate the enzymes of the body that help with detoxification. Along with this important nutrient, it also contains Vitamin C, selenium, and a good dose of iron, among other beneficial contents. But some say that broccoli loses this quality – and, indeed, many of its other nutrients – when it is cooked. There is a saying that “cooked food is dead food”. Is there any truth in that?

I would have to say yes. Cooking the broccoli causes the sulforaphane to be locked in, which then makes it unavailable to your body. It will also cause the veggie to lose about 25 percent of its Vitamin C and 20 percent of the selenium. Fortunately, other nutrients don’t show much significant change. If you really enjoy broccoli, your best bet is to eat it raw. As with most foods, this is when it’s most nutritious. However, if raw broccoli just isn’t something you think you can stomach, it is believed that light cooking will leave some of this sulforaphane available for your body. The ideal method of cooking these foods is to steam or boil it for 3-5 minutes. It should have a bright green color and a good amount of crunch. And that isn’t the only benefit of lightly cooking your broccoli. This form of preparation will soften the fibrous materials on the food, aiding digestion and increasing your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients that are left behind.

So while eating your broccoli raw ensures that nutrients are not cooked out and that you receive the best benefits for your body, there are some benefits to lightly cooking it, too. But bear in mind that overcooking any vegetable will deplete it of its nutrients.

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