The USDA nutrition data says these foods have much better nutrition raw than cooked.

Can I make them safe to eat without cooking?

  • Expand them and soften with water so they don't grow after being eaten
  • Remove anti-nutrients and indigestible parts.

Can they be sprouted? Or soaked with lemon juice?

Or if I boil them, does the water contain the removed nutrients and can I eat that?

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  • 2
    Do you have reference to much better nutrition raw. Yes some nutrition is lost cooking but not much. In something like a crock pot you don't need to remove any water.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 23:09
  • I added nutrition data example. 80g carbs, 40g protein difference
    – user193661
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 23:11
  • That difference in nutrition amazes me. I have no answer. I suggest you move those tables to the bottom.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 23:15
  • 8
    "Expand them and soften with water" - what do you think this process does to the weight of the product? What does cooking do? Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 6:12
  • 1
    Please, please, please don't eat raw beans Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


Assuming you don't cook in excess water then drain it away, there's not a difference in nutritional value here, you're just not comparing the same amount of rice.

Raw, uncooked rice and beans are dry. When you cook them you add water. So if say you start with 100g of raw brown rice, you might end up with 330g of cooked brown rice. If you then take just 100g of it, it'll have less than 1/3 of the original nutritional value - you're basically eating 30g of rice and 70g of water. But if you eat all of it, it'll have the same nutritional value it started with.

Same idea applies if you start with one cup. It expands when you cook it, to perhaps a bit over 3 cups of rice, so if you take one cup to eat, it's just less rice.

The ratios of cooked weight to raw weight, and cooked volume to raw volume, depend a bit on exactly how you cook the rice. The nutrition facts are based on some average of "properly" cooked rice.

If you do cook things in excess water, then yes, there is some very small amount of nutrients in the water (it's still water, not a protein shake), hard to say exactly how much, and if you're determined to get every last bit of nutrition you can eat it. For rice it's generally a non-issue, since you don't need excess water - just use the right amount and it'll all boil away or be absorbed. Beans are generally cooked with a bit of excess water, but they don't need an insane amount, so it's not hard to turn that into a soup/sauce for the beans, and so there's still nothing to throw out.

  • 8
    @Niall on the contrary, this addresses the flawed assumption underlying the question. The little bit of nutritional advice is almost a footnote to this explanation
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 8:28
  • 1
    @Niall not my answer
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 8:37
  • 5
    @Niall this is classic XY problem territory. The very first line of the question indicates that the reason the asker is interested in 'eating them raw' is because of nutritional values. The question is how to achieve those nutritional values, not actually how to eat them raw.
    – AakashM
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 8:37
  • 1
    @ChrisH whoops, sorry.
    – Niall
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 8:38
  • 1
    Good catch! The OP is comparing apples and oranges.
    – Cindy
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 12:34

Perhaps the uncooked nutritional facts are dried split peas, and the cooked nutritional facts refer to these same peas cooked and reconstituted(re-hydrated). In this case the difference in nutrition could simply be the fact that the cooked peas in this case have the same serving size in both volume and weight, but the cooked variant has water added to it. So in this case the cooked peas simply just have less peas and more water. So if you cooked 1 cup of raw split peas you'd still have about the same nutritional content, but more mass and volume from added water. Taking into consideration what Jefromi said, and the fact that some nutrients degrade in heat, I'd say you're barely denting the nutritional content by cooking and rehydrating it, you're just creating more volume and mass to eat,but all that added mass/volume is simply water.

Its also worth noting some nutrients don't get absorbed as much when you don't cook the food. This is mostly just for carbs and proteins, which neither degrade with heat, but rather break down into more digestible components.

Still vitamins C, A, B6, and many more degrade from excess heat and water(and even light and oxygen exposure). One way I can think of to prepare these foods without heat is to crush or mill them to a powder to reduce the surface area and then add just enough water to get them to digestible paste. But that doesn't sound very pleasant.

  • You can certainly buy flour from some pulses (e.g. gram flour is from chickpeas). Then some sort of lightly-cooked flatbread might be the best approach
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 8:32
  • @Yeah, just making the case for the least nutrient loss. Really cooking them as usual probably doesn't have much effect and probably isn't worth going to the lengths to obtain that small portion of extra nutrients that degrade with heat.
    – tsturzl
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 19:57

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