Winston-Salem, NC -- A cup of carrots isn't a cup depending on if you cook the carrots or eat them raw.
Certain foods we eat like vegetables have to be treated before we can get any nutritional benefit so this is is an exmaple like beans, peas or seeds.
But, Wake Forest Baptist Clinical Research Dietitian Jennifer Cantewell Wood says, "There are other foods that if we cook them too much we destroy the nutritional value. When we eat carrots raw, they have tremendous nutritional value of fiber, vitamin C. But some of the vitamins in these carrots are water soluble so when we boil them in a substantial amount of water a lot of that nutritional value will go into the water. We won't get the benefit unless we drink that water ."
The recommendation is to lightly steam them. Even with that, there are veggies full vitamin C that the vitamins will be destroyed even with that heat.
Jennifer also makes the point that there are certain foods that don't have all their nutrients released without the help of another food.
"Spinach is very high in iron and most of us are deficient in it. Iron can be hard to process in our bodies, so we can use something like lemon which is high in vitamin C. That vitamin c will help us absorb the iron and make the spinach more nutritious."
Jennifer says its important to get a variety of foods. Some cooked, some not, some animal, some plant so we are sure to get all the vitamins, minerals and tastes we need!
Health Encyclopedia: Vitamins, Their Functions & Sources
Linus Pauling Institute InfoCenter