It is well known that vegetables are important for your health, but did you know how you cook the vegetables could affect the nutrient contents in them? This blog will introduce you to the facts and tips to help you obtain the most nutritional benefits from your vegetables by using the appropriate cooking methods.
Vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, and spinach are great sources of vitamin C. According to studies, higher retention (>90%) of vitamin C was generally observed after microwaving. Boiling vegetables may lose up to 50% or more of their vitamin C. Steaming treatment significantly reduced the retention of vitamin C in all vegetables except broccoli.
Fat-soluble vitamins such as α-tocopherol and β-carotene are occasionally retained more in cooked vegetables than their fresh counterparts, depending on the type of vegetable. Green leafy vegetables have a significant amount of α-tocopherol. β-carotene can be obtained through carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and leafy green vegetables.
For vitamin K, different vegetables using the same cooking method for the same time may have a different loss of the nutrient. For example, microwave cooking caused the greatest loss of vitamin K in crown daisy and mallow, while it caused the least loss of vitamin K in spinach and chard.
As a general rule, it’s best to minimize cooking time, temperature, and the amount of liquid used. That is why steaming is one of the best ways to cook most vegetables. Microwaving uses little to no water and can heat the veggie quickly from within, which could also be a good choice. Try to sauté the vegetables instead of frying them. Studies have shown that deep-fat frying could dehydrate vegetables. But sautéing in a bit of healthy cooking oil, such as olive oil, could not only add flavor, but the addition of olive oil appears to increase the absorption of phytonutrients like phenols and carotenes.
Regardless of which method you choose to use for cooking your vegetables, try to incorporate a rainbow of different colored vegetables throughout the week to maximize your nutrient profile!