Food and Nutrition

How to Cook Without Losing Nutrients

| by Mitzi Dulan

With the economy the way it is, we can’t help but brainstorm about the innumerable possibilities how we can save money. It’s pretty much become second nature to finger through weekly sales papers, or return the bag of Roma tomatoes you had just picked out after noticing another kind was $1 less per pound. I know I do. What if I were to tell you that there was also certain things you can do to retain maximum amount of nutrients in your food and best capture the flavor during the cooking process? After all, we’ve already gotten the money-saving principles down…why not take the extra step towards healthy cooking.

1. The bigger the better when chopping vegetables because fewer vitamins are destroyed because less of the vegetable’s surface area is exposed to air.

2. Use as little water as possible. Let’s put it this way, water-soluble vitamins are easily dissolved and washed away by water. Therefore, the less you use, the more you will preserve the nutrients. The best way to destroy vitamins is by cooking in an uncovered pot of boiling water. Instead, try microwaving or steaming vegetables instead of simmering/boiling.

3. Consider the time and temperature. Put simply, the longer the cooking time and the higher the temperature, the more nutrients are lost because of the fact that many vitamins are sensitive to heat and air exposure (specifically vitamin C, the B vitamins and folate).

4. Love that cover.
When cooking, always cover your pot to hold in the steam and heat to help reduce cooking time. Don’t let that heat get away by leaving your pot uncovered!

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5. Raw, raw, raw is in. You don’t need to go on a “raw diet” to eat raw food. Try to eat fruits and vegetables raw whenever you can (or cook just until they are crisp and tender) to avoid destroying any vitamins.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, are 5 different and FREE ways you can avoid destroying vitamins during the cooking process. Which one do you use on a regular basis? What are your suggestions for retaining nutrients while cooking?

By Mitzi Dulan with research assistance provided by Monica Lobo.