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vegetables in a basket 1Nobody debates that a healthy diet includes a lot of vegetables. But how to eat them is another story.
Chinese medicine has long been an advocate of eating cooked vegetables over raw. This is because cooked vegetables are easier to digest, allowing the body to more easily absorb the nutrients. And cooked vegetables are easier on the digestive system preventing unwanted symptoms like bloating (more on this below).

In this week’s Times, an article examines how cooking vegetables can improve their vitamin absorbability. As one can expect, not all vegetables or vitamins in the vegetables act alike. For example, boiling and steaming vegetables can help with the release of fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K as well as the antioxidants. And in tomatoes, cooking helps to release releases lycopene. But boiling does degrade some of the water soluble vitamins like Vitamin C.

This research is difficult to be comprehensive. But it is important to note that many vegetables become more healthy when cooking them.

In the end, it is best to eat vegetables in a way that you enjoy them. Steaming, boiling, in soups can all be delicious. Particularly for fibrous vegetables like broccoli. Of course some of the crunchy vegetables like peppers, lettuce, and arugula taste great in a salad.

Protect the Digestive Qi

Qi, the body’s energy, is actually a very practical concept. We use qi to work, exercise, stay healthy, and digest food. At the same time, digestion is the primary method for creating qi. Simply put, the body uses digestive qi to digest food and make more qi.

Eating vegetables that are cooked helps the digestive qi extract the qi of the food. Raw vegetables that are hard to digest can injure the digestive qi functioning. This sometimes happens when you too many raw veggies that are difficult to digest vegetables.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.

Joseph Alban is a New York Licensed Acupuncturist and Board Certified Herbalist providing the highest quality Acupuncture and Chinese medicine care tailored to your needs.

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