There is some debate out there are to which method of cooking your vegetables is best.
It’s important to note that some methods are more effective for helping to retain the nutrients than others.
It comes down to the kind of vegetable that you’re cooking, so one method isn’t going to be the most effective in every situation.
Today let’s break it down boiling, steaming, microwaving, roasting and stir-frying.
Trust me, the results aren’t what you think!
It truly depends on the type of vegetable that you’re cooking.
For example, red peppers…
Let’s consider a study posted in the Preventive Food and Nutrition Journal in 2012 (1)…
What the study looked at was red peppers. It examined the nutrition levels of them boiled, steamed, stir-fried and roasted.
The point of the study was to measure how much of the phytochemicals and antioxidants remained in the peppers after they were cooked in various ways.
The result: stir-frying, even though it used the highest heat level, preserved the most vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.
“Boiling and steaming significantly decreased the AsA content, TP, and antioxidant levels compared with the other cooking methods.” (1)
It could be that the higher heat caused the vegetable to cook faster, resulting in preserving the nutrients, but there is more to it than that.
Now, onto carrots, broccoli and courgettes…
There was a study done in 2008 (2) that looked at the same four cooking methods. Again, they wanted to know how much of the nutrient was lost via each method.
This study actually found that boiling and steaming actually retained the most nutrient:
“Water-cooking treatments better preserved the antioxidant compounds, particularly carotenoids, in all vegetables analyzed and ascorbic acid in carrots and courgettes.” (2)
Wondering how this could possibly be true? It’s like I said before, it’s all about the kind of vegetable that you’re working with.
It’s important to be aware of which cooking method is right for the vegetable you’re preparing, so you can be sure to get the most nutrition from it. Fortunately, you can group the veggies together and follow guidelines for each group.
For example, water soluble nutrients…
Veggies that are high in water soluble nutrients like vitamins B & C, other phytonutrients and some antioxidants, are easily identified by their thin skins.
These veggies typically lose a lot of their nutrients when they are boiled or steamed, because they go into the water and get washed away.
Types of veggies in this grouping include broccoli and other soft vegetables that don’t have a heavy skin.
If you’re making a soup, this is ok, because the nutrients will still be present in the broth.
Then there are fat soluble nutrients…
Vegetables high in vitamin A, D, E and K (which are all fat soluble nutrients) will be best cooked on high heat. This is where you want to get our your wok, and stir-fry your veggies! Roasting and grilling are also an option here.
In this grouping you’ll find peppers, carrots, beets, spinach and sweet potatoes.
If you’re confused about which vegetables belong in which category, do a simple Google search, figure out which vitamins the veggie in question contains. Once you know whether or not the nutrients are water or fat soluble, you know what your best options are.
You’re not going to believe this, but…
Many people are worried that if they microwave their food they are killing off the nutrients. This is not true at all.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Food Science found that microwaving your vegetables actually increases the bioavailability of the vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients found in them.
That’s right, even over roasting, stir-frying, boiling and steaming, microwaving the vegetables actually retained the highest nutrient value.
Still though, microwaving is NOT always the best option…
When a food has been frozen and you’re then putting it in the microwave, the cell walls have been broken down, which affects the absorption. Also, the quality of the vegetables might not be as good if they have been sitting in the freezer, or even the fridge, for an extended period of time.
Also, don’t put your veggies in water and then microwave them, because you run into the same problems that you would if you boiled them; you’re washing away the nutrients.
So in conclusion…
It’s absolutely worth the extra effort to research your vegetables before cooking them, so you can be sure to get the most nutrient out of your meal.
The tastiest way to enjoy your veggies, which really boosts your nutrient intake, is to cook them with turmeric and ginger. You could even sprinkle these spices over your veggies before you enjoy them!
Or, if you’re not into turmeric on your veggies, you could check out PuraTHRIVE’s Micellular Liposomal Turmeric, formulated to offer superior bioavailability. This is the supplement you need to reduce inflammation and supercharge your immune system.
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