When it comes to eating healthy, vegetables certainly come on top on our list of must eat foods. It comes as no surprise since this food group are some of the best natural sources of all essential vitamins and nutrients the body needs to function optimally.
But are we getting the most out of our vegetables? Aside from getting our daily dose of vegetables, we should also consider how these are prepared. Cooking food in general creates a chemical reaction which breaks down or even destroys the nutrients contained in our vegetables.
Proper food preparation helps us get the most of the food we eat. While we don’t recommend eating our vegetables raw, we should definitely consider how we cook our vegetables. Cooking actually helps break down the nutrients making it easy for use to digest and take it into our system. And there is no sure fire way to prepare all types of vegetables.
Sauté versus Frying
Frying causes fat to enter the vegetables and dehydrates it in the process. A healthy way to go around this is to sauté the vegetable and use healthy types of cooking oil such as virgin olive oil. Using virgin oil actually helps increase the absorption of nutrients. Aside from preparing the vegetable for digestion, virgin oil gives an extra kick of flavor.
Baking or Roasting
Baking or roasting involves intense heat over a predetermined amount of time. And how healthy we prepare our vegetables depend on these factors. The amount of available nutrients after baking or roasting also depend on the type of vegetable.
Eggplants, asparagus, broccoli, artichokes and celery for example works great with baking. Tomatoes are best prepared by roasting. The act of cutting tomatoes and heating it makes lycopene more available for digestion. Lycopene is fat-soluble pigment that is found in rich amounts in tomatoes. It is a powerful antioxidant that reduces our risks for cancer. But technically, tomatoes are fruits.
Nutrients found in vegetables are often lost through heating and water. Microwaving does not require water to cook and heats the vegetables internally. This is a great way of preserving the Vitamin C content in vegetables. Phytonutrients contained in vegetables such as carrots and beans are also preserved when microwaved.