Boiling is often considered a healthy cooking method, but it can actually lead to a loss of all water soluble nutrients, especially if we throw the stock away. Most vegetables such as cabbages lose up to 50 percent of their nutrient value upon being boiled. Steaming on the other hand leads to only a loss of about half of that percentage. Consider eating as many vegetables as possible raw, or cook them by steaming.
The doctor’s recommendation that you get your five a day of fruits and vegetables is very sound advice indeed. Vegetables have important vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids that the body needs to stay healthy and disease-free.1 Unfortunately, when we boil vegetables, quite a bit of their nutritive value is lost. This is because water is not just a good heat transfer medium, but also an excellent solvent. As a result, all the goodness of the vegetables moves into the water.2
1. Nutrients Are
Beyond Lost Due To Boiling
Fat soluble vitamins like beta carotene in carrots do just fine in water as they cannot dissolve in it, but water soluble vitamins like ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are depleted majorly.3
2. Steaming Is Better Than Boiling
In fact, cabbages when boiled lose close to have of their riboflavin content but lose only half of that amount when steamed instead.4 Water is still the medium of cooking, but the quantities used are much lesser as compared to boiling. Also, steamed vegetables can be eaten as they are without draining any water from them as we would do in case of boiling.
Pressure Cooker Is Your Friend
When it comes to cooking vegetables, a pressure cooker may be your best bet. In this method of cooking, steam is leveraged and faster as compared to stove top cooking. Since cooking time has an impact on nutrient loss, using a pressure cooker can help retain some of the nutrients.5 In any case, it is a good idea to cook food just before eating it, as letting food stand in water after it is cooked results in even more nutrient loss.
4. Slow Flame To The Rescue When Boiling
If you have no choice but to boil the vegetables, using a lower flame is better than scorching the water at a higher flame. Use about a half inch of water to cover the
5. Avoid Using Baking Soda For Boiling
Some cooks feel that using baking soda in boiling water helps the foods cook faster. While this may be true to an extent, baking soda and hot water together can destroy the vitamins present in the vegetables entirely.7
6. Try Out Different Cooking Methods Than Boiling
While it does receive its share of flak, microwaving is considered one cooking method that preserves most of the nutrients. Stir frying, sauteing, and steaming are some other options to consider.8
There are a few other steps you can take to retain more nutrient
|↑1||T. Koike, Steven. Vegetable Diseases. Gulf Professional Publishing, 2007.|
|↑2, ↑3||EJ, Lean, Michael. Fox and Cameron’s Food Science, Nutrition & Health, 7 th Edition. CRC Press, 2006.|
|↑4||R M, Begum. A Textbook of Foods, Nutrition & Dietetics. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2008.|
|↑5, ↑6, ↑7||Yaron, Ruth. Super Baby Food. FJ Robert Publishing, 2013.|
|↑8||University of California, Berkeley. The New Wellness Encyclopedia. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1995.|