It's commonly said that cooked fruits and vegetables are not as good for you as raw ones. Is this statement true? Find out on today's Moment of Science.
It's true that, when cooked, vegetables tend to loose some of their vitamins and minerals. However, some research shows that tomatoes in particular are actually better for you cooked rather than raw. You're right that cooking tomatoes reduces their vitamin content. Tomatoes, known for being rich in vitamin C, can lose ten to thirty percent of that vitamin C through the cooking process.
On the bright side, cooking tomatoes greatly increases their levels of a compound called lycopene, which gives tomatoes their red color. Lycopene is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the body from cell and tissue damage which can lead to cancer. Lycopene specifically is known for decreasing the risk of heart-disease. Thus, lycopene, as well as antioxidants in general, are an important part of the diet.
Further research might greatly change the way we think about and consume fruits and vegetables. We might discover reasons to feel just as good about ourselves for eating cooked fruits and vegetables as we do for eating raw ones.