Expert answers to your health and wellness questions.
Question: Should I be eating my vegetables fresh or should I cook them?
Jay’s answer: There are benefits to both. But one thing is certain — eating vegetables, whether they’re grilled, roasted, baked, steamed, boiled or raw, always is good. The only way to really mess up a vegetable is to deep fry it as in tempura or overcook it!
Regarding your specific question, it really depends on the nutrients in the vegetables that you are going for and how they react to temperature. For example, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus and cabbage, among others, actually may supply more antioxidants to the body when they are cooked. Tomatoes have proved to supply more lycopene when cooked, which is thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
But when it comes to water-soluble vitamins like B-complex and C, eating raw vegetables may be the way to go. Studies have shown that cooking vegetables with water-soluble nutrients can deplete the amount of these nutrients from the vegetables.
So the answer to your question is more complicated that one would think. Most of us need to eat more veggies, that’s for sure. In fact, if weight loss is a goal, eating more veggies is one of the first things we recommend to our clients. Vegetables are nutrient-dense, high in fiber and relatively low in calories compared to other types of food. They take up space in your stomach so you have less room for the bad stuff! The best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your veggies is to eat a combination of raw and cooked, in copious quantities!
Heidi’s answer: The first part of your question pertaining to calories burned could lead us to the answer to the second part about not losing weight! You really don’t burn any more calories just because you are sweating more. You lose water weight when you sweat but it all comes back when you rehydrate your body after the workout. Unfortunately in our business we see people wearing sweatshirts and heavy clothing indoors in order to “sweat off the calories” but it just doesn’t work that way. In fact, your body will burn more calories trying to stay warm than it will trying to keep cool. So don’t torture yourself in the heat (not that it ever really gets hot in Sequim!) thinking you will burn more calories.
It sounds like your issue with weight loss might be more a result of lack of variety in your routine. If your outdoor exercise consists of walking daily that’s great, but it’s not a formula for losing weight. Your body adjusts pretty quickly to the same thing done over and over and you plateau.
Get some help incorporating some resistance training to boost your muscle metabolism and also vary your intensity and mode of cardio by trying some activities other than walking. Good examples include cycling, elliptical cross training, hill walking and running intervals mixed into your walking. Finally, make sure you are addressing your nutrition. Just one fast food meal or dessert can completely obliterate an hour’s worth of hard exercise. You’ll have to consider every aspect of your lifestyle if you want to succeed! Shoot us an e-mail if you need more help.
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