Steam or bake your veggies to get the most out of them

Steam or bake your veggies to get the most out of them

What do I gain from eating foods that are raw?

Vegetables lose most of their water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C, B-vitamins and a group of nutrients called polyphenolics, during cooking or processing. For example, canned peas and carrots lose 85 to 95 percent of their natural vitamin C, cooked spinach lost two-thirds of its vitamin C, while the process of freezing cherries lost as much as 50 percent of anthocyanins, the nutrients found in the dark pigments of fruits and vegetables.

According to researchers at the University of California, loss of vitamin C during home cooking typically ranges from fifteen to fifty-five percent, depending on the method used.

So, is it better to eat all vegetables raw?

While raw vegetables have a multitude of benefits (lots of fibre, more vitamin C), all veggies should not be eaten raw. It depends very much on which nutrient you want to get out of the vegetable that you’re eating. Cooking breaks down the thick cell walls of many plants, releasing the nutrients stored in them. The lycopene found in tomatoes is a good example of nutrients that are enhanced by cooking.

In conclusion, mix it up: eat both raw and cooked vegetables.

Is boiling the best way to cook vegetables?

When food is boiled nutrient losses by leaching tend to be around 20 to 50 per cent. The shorter the time, the less the water, and the lower the temperature, the more this leaching is reduced. Cut vegetables into larger pieces, as it reduces the surface area through which water-soluble vitamins such as B and C can leach out.

Steaming is by far the best way to cook vegetables: you lose fewer nutrients and retain fibre – vital not only for keeping your bowel movements regular, but also for helping any nasty toxins and excess cholesterol out of the body.

And is all deep-frying bad?

I’m afraid there’s pretty much no goodness left in deep-fried food. Furthermore, the baddies that are created by this cooking method use up valuable antioxidant nutrients like vitamin A, C and E

So, how can I make healthy chips?

Baking is a good way to cook potatoes, because people usually eat the skin, which is fibre-rich and helps the cooked potatoes retain their vitamin C content. Avoid coating the potatoes (or indeed any other food) with oil however.

What is steam-frying?

Steam-frying simply means frying food with a little oil and either water or some other water based sauce like stock. Once this has been added, put a lid on to essentially “steam” the food.

Microwaving seems like a good fat-free cooking method. What do you think?

As I talked about last week, I think the microwave should be avoided like the plague. While I will sometimes indulge in deep-fried food, I simply will not eat food if I know it’s been microwaved. Of course, the convenience factor of microwaving means that it encourages people to eat vegetables that they otherwise wouldn’t eat, but if you have an option, choose another method of cooking to get the most out of your vegetables.

By SONA PARMAR