How To Preserve Nutrients While Cooking

Have you just moved out from your home and started struggling in a new city and are you also struggling to prepare food on your own? If you can relate to this, then this article is for you as we will be writing about how to keep your vegetables vitamin packed.

The freshest, peak-season veggies taste good and are packed with nutrients. But, what if you don't know how to retain the nutrients? Some cooking methods alter the nutritional composition of vegetables where important nutrients like vitamin B1, vitamin C and polyphenols can be reduced or lost.

how to preserve nutrients while cooking

There are several tips and information available today about how to cook and maintain the freshness of your veggies. But, too much of information can make you confused.

So, here's where we are going to give you some tips on how to keep your vegetables vitamin-packed.

1. Use Some Amount Of Fat
2. Keep Some Veggies Raw
3. Use Little Amount Of Water While Cooking
4. It Is Better To Eat Fresh Produce
5. Add Citrus Fruits To Increase Iron Absorption
6. Mix Cooked And Raw Food

1. Use Some Amount Of Fat

Consuming plain steamed vegetables is considered nutritious. But, having steamed vegetables teamed up with a little fat can boost the nutrient value. For example, many nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin K and beta-carotene are fat-soluble. So, they can pass easily through the intestine into the bloodstream only with some fat to carry them. These fats include vinaigrette, a marinade made by mixing an oil with something acidic such as vinegar or lemon juice.

Adding fats in your steamed or sautéed veggies will make them tastier and keep the nutrients intact.

2. Keep Some Veggies Raw

Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale contain powerful anti-cancer chemicals called glucosinolates. They also contain an enzyme called myrosinase which can keep bacteria, fungi and other harmful organisms at bay.

Cooking these vegetables can destroy the enzymes and healthy compounds that are released when the plant is chewed or crushed.

3. Use Little Amount Of Water While Cooking

Did you know that when you cook veggies in water, they lose their nutrients? You will notice that the nutrients have leached in the water after you have boiled or blanched a green vegetable.

The key is to watch out for cooking vegetables gently without boiling them much in water and removing them when they are still crisp to preserve the nutrients.

You could also swap boiling or blanching vegetables with steaming and microwaving in which less water is utilized.

4. It Is Better To Eat Fresh Produce

One of the reasons why having fresh produce is good is because the depletion of nutrients could be slowed down based on the way you store it. Another reason is the quicker you consume it, the more nutrients can be gained from it.

For instance, sweet corn is very sweet the day it is picked but after a week, the sweetness is reduced a little.

5. Add Citrus Fruits To Increase Iron Absorption

Vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach have loads of iron and for better iron absorption in the body, you can add citrus fruits which contain vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin C-rich fruits like lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit increases the absorption of nonheme iron.

You can add a dash of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit juice while stir-frying or sautéing vegetables.

6. Mix Cooked And Raw Food

Health experts recommend having a mixed diet of both raw and cooked vegetables. And there's a reason why they have said so, because research has shown that cooking can diminish some nutrients, but it can enhance the availability of nutrients in other vegetables.

This applies in the case of vegetables and spices like spinach, carrot and pepper and other vegetables and fruits that contain vitamin C. If vitamin C, vitamin B1 and folate-rich veggies are cooked or heated, they start losing some of the nutrients.

On the other hand, cooking carrots preserves the antioxidant compounds, particularly carotenoids. This decreases the risk of certain diseases like cancer and eye diseases.

Tomato and mushrooms should also be cooked. Cooking tomatoes breaks down the cancer-fighting lycopene, a red pigment found in tomatoes which lowers the risk of heart attacks and cancer.

And mushrooms when cooked release powerful polysaccharides which inhibit cancer growth.

Here are some tips to preserve nutrients in food:

  • Avoid cutting vegetables into small pieces. Instead, cut larger and uniform pieces of vegetables so that the cell walls are not much severed and fewer nutrients are lost while cooking in heat and water.
  • Soon after cutting vegetables, you should cook them as the vitamins and minerals are secure in their cells as once they are exposed to light and air for a long time, nutrients can be destroyed.
  • Don't throw away the excess water drained after boiling rice or vegetables as it contains all the nutrients. You can use the excess water in preparing gravies, kneading dough or serve it as a refreshment drink.
  • Avoid reheating cooked vegetables as it further destroys the vitamins.

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