Cooking is both an art and a pleasure however, when food is exposed to heat, its vital nutrients are destroyed. There are various methods of cooking and food preparation, and each one has a better way in preserving the nutrients of foods. Water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C and B group can easily evaporate during intense cooking.
The most efficient way of preserving the foods’ nutrient content is steaming. Place the food like vegetables and fish above bubbling water, and let the steam cook the food in a few minutes. Steam dense vegetables for 5 minutes or less while steam the fish for 10 minutes. The vegetables should remain firm retaining their vivid colors and nutrient content after steaming, while the water-soluble B vitamins and essential fish oils are preserved in the fish.
Boiling does not substitute steaming as it destroys the nutrients and vitamins especially vitamin B and C. If there is a need for boiling, especially vegetables, do it in a limited time and with a small amount of water. Cooking foods in a microwave preserves nutrients due to the short cooking time however, the kind of foods that is prepared for microwaving are usually the processed ready-to-eat meals. These kinds of foods are high in sugar, hydrogenated fats, and salt. These ingredients are susceptible to molecular changes and the shift in molecular structure leads to free radical damage.
If you like to make soup or stewed foods, this is also a preferable way of food preparation. Foods are usually cooked slowly at temperature below boiling point therefore vitamins and nutrients are not destroyed too much. The nutrients also are transferred to the water are served and eaten.
Frying foods is yet the most damaging as extreme heat destroys nutrients and oils contained in foods like fish and poultry. Water soluble vitamin B and C and fat soluble vitamin A, D, E, and K are lost during frying. This food preparation also creates free radicals that can damage the body and initiate cancer, premature aging and heart disease. Just the smoke from frying foods provides the risk of lung and throat cancer.
Stir-frying is a better alternative because the quantity of oil is small and the cooking time is faster than deep frying. Try to add a little water and soy sauce as the oil heats up so the steam will help the food to cook fast and stop the oil from burning.
Other popular food preparations are roasting and barbecuing. They preserve the fat content of foods as long as the temperature is not too hot however, 25 percent of water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and B are lost. The longer the food is cooked, the more nutrients are lost. Avoid to burn foods because they are carcinogenic and it damages cells when it comes in contact with the throat and digestive tract. A tip to protect against the damage by the free radicals due to barbecuing is to marinate the food with olive oil before cooking.
Eating raw foods such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits everyday is the best way to benefit from all the nutrients and vitamins found in food. These raw foods contain fibre which removes the toxic waste and bad cholesterol from our body. Raw foods also contain digestive enzymes which reduce the work of the pancreas to produce these enzymes.
Which food preparation you practice at home can either affect your body positively or negatively so you need to choose the ones that give us the most benefits.