Vegetables add variety and deliciousness to your meals and give you your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. You may be eating plenty of vegetables throughout your day, but if you are cooking them, you may be destroying their vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, the cooking process destroys the vitamins and minerals that give vegetables their nutritional value.
Luckily, there are methods that help maintain the nutritional value in your veggies. Methods by which you can enjoy delicious vegetables without compromising on nutrition.
Rule #1 – Cook with Less Water
Vitamins B and C are water soluble nutrients and are the most vulnerable to being leeched from vegetables when they sweat or are boiled in water. Usually, that water is then washed down the drain. So, you're not only losing the vitamins in your vegetables, you’re also throwing those vitamins away. This rule may be a little surprising because water on its own is great for your body.
Rule #2 – Cook at low temperatures.
Heat introduces chemical reactions in the vegetables which may alter or destroy the vitamins. It is necessary to cook at low temperatures, if at all, to preserve the vitamins in their natural state. Water and heat are the two biggest culprits of vitamin destruction. Cooking at a lower temperature helps keep the heat factor at bay, but also be sure to follow the “less water” rule as well.
Rule #3 – Cook Quickly
As another preventative measure, aim to cook vegetables for as short a time as possible. The longer vegetables are heated; the more destruction is caused to their nutritional makeup. If you cannot cook at a low temperature, opt for a shorter cooking time. The longer vegetables are heated, the more destruction is caused to their nutritional makeup and the more they tend to sweat, or cause steam.
How foods are cooked can have a big impact on their nutrient content because many vitamins are sensitive to heat and air exposure. Cooking methods that minimize the time, temperature, and amount of water needed will help to preserve nutrients. Steaming is a great way to cook vegetables quickly and retain valuable nutrients. Microwave cooking is also good because it uses minimal water, and the cooking time is very short. Stir frying is another way to quickly cook a variety of vegetables.
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