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How To Maximise Nutrition During Cooking

29.08.2018

There is no doubt that the nutritional composition of fruit and vegetables are altered when they are cooked. However, it isn’t always for the worse. Whilst some vitamins and minerals can be decreased throughout the cooking process, it has been shown that others can increase. 

 

Results of recent studies have shown:

  • Water-soluble nutritents such as vitamins B and C are most vulnerable to degradation during the cooking process
  • Approximately 66% of vitamin C is lost when spinach is cooked
  • Vitamin C decreases in fruit and vegetables during the cooking process by approximately 15-55%
  • Vitamin C is often found to be higher in frozen fruit and vegetables rather than fresh due to levels being reducing during the storage and transport process 
  • Frying vegetables found to lose the most nutritional value over all cooking processes
  • Carrots, courgette and broccoli contained a higher nutritional boost when boiled compared with being steamed, fried or served raw
  • One study showed that steaming or boiling broccoli caused it to lose 22-34% of vitamin C, whilst microwaving or pressure-cooking it enabled it to retain 90% of vitamin C
  • Cooking improves the digestion and absorption of many nutrients, but the levels of vitamins and minerals are likely to decrease
  • Water-based cooking methods such as boiling, simmering and poaching retains a far greater percentage of omega-3 fatty acids within fish than frying or microwaving

 

There is no cooking method that is superior in comparison to others as it is impossible to retain 100% of vegetables nutrients, with each cooking process causing a decrease and increase in a number of important a health boosting nutritional compounds. Therefore, eating a variety of fruit and vegetables, prepared and cooking using different methods will ensure you gain the maximum amount of nutrition available to you. 

 

How to maximise your nutrient retention during cooking:

  • Keep your water to a minimum when cooking
  • Where possible, use any leftover liquid from the pan to use elsewhere in your meal such as gravy
  • Do not peel your fruit and vegetables where possible as this is fibre and nutrient dense
  • Consume leftover cooked fruit and vegetables as soon as possible as the nutrient decrease continues in the time after cooking
  • Keep cooking time to a minimum to avoid losing vitamins and minerals


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