Raw or Cooked? Which is better?
The answer to this question is that it is complicated. Some plants are more nutrient dense raw but others are at their best when cooked. This is not an exhaustive list but check it out.
Cooking asparagus breaks down the fibrous membranes which in turn allows for greater vitamin and folate absorption.
Broccoli in its raw form delivers very high doses of sulforphane which is a cancer fighting compound. However, many people do not prefer it raw and a lightly steaming still delivers a good punch of the cancer fighting properties.
The carotenoids in carrots are more biologically available for absorption when cooked. Carotenoids fight chronic diseases.
Like broccoli the cancer fighting sulfur compounds are more readily available when consumed raw. Use them as a condiment to add flavor to salads, tuna fish, rice and beans, eggs and more.
Red Bell Pepper
Often the color of a plant tells you which vitamin is most prevalent in a plant. This is certainly true for red peppers. Red plants are generally high in vitamin C. The vitamin C in red peppers is more readily available in its raw form. With their sweet taste red peppers can be enjoyed alone or with hummus, salads, eggs, as a side, or simply chopped and added to just about any dish!
When tomatoes are cooked the human body is more able to absorb the lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is good for your brain and your heart. Obviously great for pasta sauce but try it over eggs or a grass-fed burger!
This is good information to know to make better use of these plants. However, the most important thing to do is eat a variety of plants at every meal!