Raw carrots vs cooked ones? Well, it’s not that simple. It comes down the vitamin you are aiming for. Vitamin C or Vitamin A? Folate? Carotenoids? Raw carrots will have more Vit C and Folate, but cooking them a little and serving with a bit of fat/oil will boost availability and absorbability of carotenoids. Carrots are not the most Vit C’ful vegetable you might choose – better to go for citrus or a fresh sweet pepper. But carrots are a great source for Vit A and retinol. Apparently gently “thermally processed” (Really? We can’t just say ‘cooked’?) carrots make the pre-vitamin A molecule more bioavailable. So when I want to eat hummus and carrots, I gently steam the carrots a little first until they are toothsome, or al dente.
To me, this seems like a good middle ground. Just enough heat to brea down some cell walls and release the carotenoids and pre-A, but not too hot to destroy the B and C. A bit of lipid; tahini, olive oil, or salad dressing will dissolve the fat-soluble vitamins to boost bioavailability.