The way you cook your vegetables can have a drastic effect on the nutritional value of fresh produce. Some methods of cooking vegetables improve the content and bio-availability of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Still other ways to prepare the products can lead to a significant loss of the fruit or vegetable essential nutrients.
We have assembled some of the most popular cooking techniques and discovered some amazing things about how it affects cooking food. Read on to learn more about the top 7 (or in some cases, the worst!) Cooking methods to maximize the nutritional value of vegetables.
As one of the fastest and easiest methods of preparing raw vegetables, boiling water has the unfortunate tendency to degrade nutrition. water-soluble nutrients such as vitamins C and B, as well as disease-fighting antioxidants such as polyphenols, are often significantly reduced through boiling cooking process. This is because the boiling water actually leaks said plant nutrients and water.
said, boiling water does not damage each fruit or vegetable that comes in contact with it. Other research shows that Boiling actually increases the antioxidant properties of carrots, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, cabbage, asparagus and squash.
Although these may be exceptions to the rule, which does not want to lose out on 60% to 70% of the nutritional value of vegetables by boiling fresh produce. To reduce losses:
- Add a pinch of salt to the water
- Add raw vegetables to the pot once the water is in full boil, reduce heat to simmer
- Cook for the shortest possible time
- Keep nutrient-rich water in the fridge or freezer to make soups and stews
2. Bake steam
from steaming is such a gentle way of cooking, often considered to be the best way to retain nutrients from the plant never touches the water. And indeed, vitamins and water-soluble nutrients are not leached into the water as boiling, but some nutrition is lost heat.
For example, a study on broccoli comparing five different cooking methods found that, in general, steamed was the most favorable option. Testing steamed broccoli showed some loss in chlorophyll, vitamin C and soluble proteins and sugars. However, the broccoli is heated, boiled or sauteed saw the most dramatic declines in these areas.
Because heat food through electromagnetic radiation, microwaves are perhaps the most controversial of kitchen appliances; and who they have long suffered from a reputation for destroying nutrients in food.
However, if the enemies of nutritional content are liquid, heat and cooking time; a quick zap in the microwave can become one of the best ways to retain nutrients. According to a Spanish study published in 2009, vegetables were heated without being submerged in water – including vegetables in the microwave – they enjoyed the least amount of nutrient loss. By using as little liquid in the container as possible and heating for the shortest time possible, vegetables in the microwave do not degrade almost as much as cooked vegetables.
4. Roasting and grilling
Like the microwave, cooking vegetables in the oven or on the barbecue grill expose them to dry heat . Of course, roasting takes longer for vegetables become tender, and prolonged exposure to heat results in some loss of nutrients. However, this method does not result in the same leaching losses that occur with the vegetables in boiling water.
Some vegetables are better candidates for the oven. Artichokes, asparagus, leeks, broccoli, eggplant, green beans, celery, onions, peas and were able to keep all their antioxidants (for the same Spanish study ). The antioxidants in green peppers, however, do not hold nearly as well after dry roasting.
5. Pressure cooking
Able to cook food ridiculously fast, the science behind pressure cooking lies in the closure cap. Because excess heat is lost when the water vaporizes into steam and escapes into the air, other cooking methods are restricted by boiling 212⁰F. pressure cookers, on the other hand, trapping heat inside by increasing the atmospheric pressure inside the pot to 15 pounds per square inch. This, in turn, allows the internal temperature to rise to 242⁰F.
Although this method of cooking requires a very small amount of water, pressure cooking significantly reduces cooking times ( many vegetables need only a minute or two). A study on the effects of pressure cooking in spinach and amaranth found that vitamins A and C are retained better than cooking in the oven, boiled, or pan. Broccoli , too, he was able to retain 90% of their nutrients when prepared in the pressure cooker.
This cooking method also promotes the reaction Maillard , a chemical transformation resulting in the creation of hundreds of new and different flavor compounds. In other words, pressure cooking produces tastier vegetables. If you have not yet doing so, you will definitely want give this a try !
vilified for causing obesity and disease heart , data on fried foods is far from complete. And many studies on the subject have found there is a direct link between eating fried foods and premature death. Although the jury is out on the health risks of frying in general, there is some positive news about the nutritional effects of frying vegetables.
The main concern with frying is adding unhealthy fats. However, Frying vegetables with just a touch of olive oil or coconut oil can help retain nutrients like vitamin C much better than boiling. This is because fried vegetables are cooked quickly over high heat, without water to leach nutrients.
If the pan was lightly greased (as with sauteed) or if vegetables were completely submerged in oil (also known as fry) there was little difference in the results of a study 2015 that investigated the antioxidant properties of tomato, potato, eggplant, squash and post-frying.
The use of extra virgin olive or coconut oil for frying and sauteing, researchers found that although these methods as you would expect a higher fat content, but also increased the total phenolic compounds in vegetables . Boiling natural water or water with extra virgin olive oil added had no such effect. The extra virgin olive oil was able to boost its own unique antioxidant phenols giving the food being cooked.
7. No cooking
By now you may be thinking that it is better not cook your vegetables at all. It seems that almost all cooking methods has its drawbacks. And yes, raw vegetables do not keep all their vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals intrinsic. However, the kitchen offers an important role in increasing the variety and availability of nutrients in vegetables. It also improves the body’s ability to digest them.
For example, researchers analyzed blood samples from 198 volunteers who had subsisted entirely on a raw food diet for at least two years. While their diets enriched with fats, vitamin A and carotenes of the participants were high enough to provide protection against chronic diseases. However, levels of the powerful antioxidant Lycopene were well below the threshold of deriving any benefit that fight disease. One way to improve lycopene is cooking tomatoes levels, increasing the bioavailability of lycopene and improve overall antioxidant activity at the expense of reduced vitamin C lost through the cooking process.
Clearly, when it comes to cooking vegetables, there is almost always a trade-off. Whenever heat or liquid is added fruits and vegetables lose some of their nutritional value. The same applies to the extra long cooking times. (Although sometimes degradation in an area means an increase in other healthy elements in some other aspect.)
Because there is no better way to cook, always use with its variety of fresh produce. Eat fruits and vegetables raw or baked a day. Then, boiling or steaming the next. This will help to promote a balance between the lost nutrients and increasing antioxidants.
Each fruit and vegetable has its own unique requirements cooking can help maximize your nutrition. (. Or at least, minimize the damage) Unless you are willing to stay on top of the latest food science, these are some general tips:
- Keeping time cooking, temperature and liquid at least
- Do not soak vegetables in water before cooking
- whole fruits and vegetables cook whenever possible, or cut into large
- wait to chop vegetables until just before cooking
- Increases the bioavailability of nutrients by including healthy fats in your meals, as extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds and
- keep peel fruits and vegetables to add even more nutrition to your meals