What Cooking Methods Preserve the most Nutrients

Cooking has been an important part of humans since the stone-age period. Changing times have transformed cooking methods, becoming sophisticated from using firewood to using electricity. Cookery has become an art, technology, and a craft. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary across the world due to different cultural traditions, environment, and economy. The ways of cooking also vary depending on individual cooks and where they obtained their training. For instance, an Italian cook is expected to cook Italian cuisine whereas a French cook practices French Cuisine.

Cooking is done by people in their own homes or by professional cooks and chefs in food establishments. This greatly affects the quality of cooked food for one has the expertise while the other is doing it as a tradition taught by parents.

There are many ways to cook healthy food without adding unnecessary extras. Many people don’t know the basics of healthy culinary, therefore end up having unhealthy cooked food. Many don’t think about how their methods affect the nutrition make-up of their entrée. As you’ll see below heat can break down and destroy vitamins in food. However, some methods are more damaging than others.

Boiling

Boiling needs nothing but water, salt and of course eat whatever food you are cooking. This method can at times do away with most of the nutrients depending on the heat applied and the amount of salt used. The large volumes of boiling water and dissolved salt can dissolve water-soluble vitamins and minerals in some foods. However, boiling your meals could be the best to preserve nutrients in zucchini, carrots, and broccoli when compared to other methods like steaming or eating raw.

Broiling

This method involves cooking food under high direct temperatures for a limited period of time. It is a great method to cook meat but may not be ideal for cooking vegetables for they can easily dry and dissolve all the minerals and vitamins from them.

Stir-frying

This method requires some oil in the pan. It is efficient in cooking bite-sized meat pieces, grains like quinoa and rice and thinly cut veggies. The oil used should only be moderate in amount.

Poaching

Poaching is cooking food in a small amount of boiling water just below the boiling point with no additives. It takes a little longer compared to boiling for the temperature of the boiling water is slightly reduced. It is a great way to cook delicate foods like fish, eggs or fruits gently.

Grilling

It is used for cooking meat and vegetables. The method leaves the food juicy, tender and having a smoky flavor. It requires minimum added fats. Though grilling is full of healthy benefits regular consumption of grilled food is not advised.

Steaming

Research suggests that steaming is the best way to cook vegetables. Cooking any meal, this is from fresh fish to veggies using this method allows them to cook in their own juices and retain all the natural goodness they had before cooking leaving them tender and soft. There is no need to add fat-laden additions; the food has its own moisture sufficient for cooking. While cooking it is good to add a little seasoning, it can be a sprinkle of salt or a squeeze of lemon juice. Cooking broccoli using this method is full of health benefits including hindering the growth of cancer cells.

Microwaving

This method is healthy because it is fast for it takes a very short cooking time which results in little nutrient destruction. Microwaves cook by heating food from inside out. They emit radio waves that electrify the food particles making them move all round, generating heat randomly in the process cooking the food. To avoid the microwave from drying out food, splash the food item with water before heating. Always add extra oil for it helps the food not to dry out too. The best thing about the microwave is that it can be used to cook almost anything, from vegetables and meat to rice and eggs just be sure to use a microwave-safe container. Cooking broccolis is essential in preserving vitamin C.

No cooking at all

Raw food diets have gained attention recently for there are tons of benefits that come with it. Eating raw food is pivotal when it comes to keeping cancer at bay. Since the diet is mostly plant-based, more vitamins, minerals, and fibers are consumed with no additives like sugar, salt or sugar from cooking.

Use of chemical reactions

Cooking can occur through a chemical reaction, even without the presence of heat, it is most notably with ceviche, a dish where the fish is cooked with the acids in lemon or lime juice.

Fermenting

This is not a cooking method for there is no heat involved. However, it changes the health profile of the food. It is worth a mention. Fermentation results in formation of the probiotic bacteria which help repopulate your gut flora and keep your digestive system humming smoothly. However, fermented is not good to people with allergic reactions resulting from probiotic bacteria.

In general, different types of food need different cooking methods for maximum retention of nutrients. However, some other aspects of the food must be put into consideration before cooking to make sure the desired amount of nutrients remains.

Chop bigger vegetables – fewer nutrients are destroyed because it is only a small part of the vegetable that is exposed to air.
Consider cooking time and temperature – the longer the cooking time and the higher the temperature, the more nutrients are lost because nutrients are sensitive to heat and air exposure.
Use as little water as possible – some nutrients are water-soluble which easily dissolve and get washed away by water. Therefore, the less water you use, the fewer nutrients you lose. Not covering the cooking pot gives the steam room to escape with the dissolved nutrients. Covering reduces the cooking time too, preserving more nutrients that could have been lost while cooking for long.
The best way to cook food is the way you’ll actually eat it. The above well-explained methods offer new ideas for changing your cooking and increase nutrients. If you exclusively relied on one method worry no more, for now, you have diverse yet effective methods for different types of food you’ll be cooking.


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