How Does Cooking Affect Nutrients in Veggies?

How Does Cooking Affect Nutrients in Veggies?


Everyone’s all about eating healthy these
days. What has more nutrients? Is this kale free range? Is butter a carb? Today we’re going to help you out and let
you know how to get the most nutrients from your veggies. Vegetables are awesome for you because they’re
chock full of essential vitamins that we need, but our body can’t make on its own. These nutrients help you function, grow, and
fight off diseases. Let me just give you a quick recap about vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins have antioxidant properties
that help with tissue repair and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Fat-soluble vitamins are great for your eyes,
liver, blood and bones. Veggies are also a great source of minerals
which regulate important processes in the body. Magnesium keeps muscles, nerves, blood and
bones strong and healthy. Iron is crucial for growth and making hemoglobin,
the protein that carries oxygen throughout your body. You get it. Nutrients are good for you. Now here’s how to get the most of them out
of your veggies. You may have heard fresh produce is better
for you, but that might not always be true. If what you’re craving is out of season,
consider trying flash frozen produce. In one study, scientists found frozen green
beans only lose a quarter of its vitamin C after a year! That’s compared to refrigerated green beans
which lost three-quarters of its vitamin C after just one week. Cooking can be a great way to get all those
delicious nutrients out of your veggies. The heat, breaks down the plant cell walls,
releasing vitamins and minerals for easier absorption, but there can be drawbacks. One big culprit behind nutrient loss is your
cooking water. It leaches off the water-soluble fiber and
vitamins, leaving you with nutrient rich water while your veggies aren’t as healthy as
they could be. Researchers found that boiled broccoli lost
about 35% of its vitamin C, while steaming caused about a 20% loss and microwave and
pressure-cooking only a 10% loss. Lost, however, doesn’t mean destroyed. As long as you consume that cooking liquid,
say in a tasty soup or sauce, you can get all those nutrients back. You can minimize the leaching by using less
water and cutting the vegetables into large chunks for less exposed surface area. Heat and oil are also villains to nutrients. Vitamins break down over extended heating
times while minerals are better at withstanding heat — something to consider when choosing
between a quick sauté or a long roast. Frying is the unhealthiest choice. Shocking, I know. Not only does the frying oil take away fat-soluble
vitamins it can be heated to much hotter temperatures
that many compounds just can’t survive. And you know, it’s fried. So that deliciousness comes with a price:
in this case, saturated fat and, depending on how they’re fried, trans fats. Now here’s where chemistry can really help
you. The chemical principle of like dissolves like
 means that you lose water-soluble vitamins to water and fat-soluble vitamins to frying
oil. BUT that can also be used to your advantage. Eating vegetables with fat-soluble vitamins
along with a little bit of good fat can help your body absorb the nutrients. A study found that eating salad along with
avocados or oil-based dressing helped participants absorb way more of the healthy carotenoids
as compared to plain salad. That’s because when you grind up the salad
with your teeth, the oily dressing is very happy to pick up the fat-soluble vitamins
— remember, like dissolves like. That makes it easier to deliver those vitamins
to your body. So if cooking makes vegetables lose nutrients,
why not just eat them raw, right? Well, there are reasons to leaving foods intact,
for example, carrot and potato peels are loaded with fiber. But it’s not quite that simple. A 2008 study found that people who eat a completely
raw diet had higher than normal levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that makes carrots
orange and contributes to healthy skin and eyesight. BUT they had much lower levels of lycopene,
an antioxidant that gives tomatoes their signature red color and has been linked to reduced risks
of cancer and heart disease. That’s because cooking with oil changes
the lycopene into a more bent structure that is easier for your body to absorb. In other words, cooking gives you easier access
to certain essential nutrients. So the next time you’re actually cooking
and not ordering take out, use these tips to get the most nutrition, along with taste,
out of your produce. Remember, every vegetable is like a unique
snowflake, and preserve their nutrients in different ways depending on how you cook them. What’s your favorite vegetable and way to
prepare it? I like our spinach, ideally sautéed and drenched
in olive oil, parmesan and garlic, garlic, and more garlic. Never enough garlic. Let us your favorites in the comments and
hey, thanks for watching.