Raw foods are great because most maintain their nutrients in their raw form. But some people just don’t like raw foods and, believe it or not, there are a few foods that actually release nutrients when they’re cooked. Here are some tips for preventing nutrient loss in the foods you do cook.
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Vitamin C – The best way to ensure you don’t lose too much vitamin C is to use as little water and as little heat as possible. Light steaming or stir-frying is best, but most fruits and vegetables with a high vitamin C content are best eaten raw or partially raw. By not peeling vegetables, especially root vegetables when you cook them, you retain over half the vitamin C content in comparison to vegetables that have been peeled and then cooked. Serve promptly, and don’t reheat after keeping in the refrigerator, most of the vitamin C content will be lost from foods which are high in vitamin C and then re-heated.
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B Vitamins – It is the heat and water that affect B vitamins, and I find that slow cookers are best here, just keep the heat right down and cook for prolonged periods of time. You consume the liquid that way, which is richer in minerals and vitamins. Bone broths are an exceptionally good way to get an incredible amount of vitamins and especially minerals into your diet. Don’t rinse rice before you cook it, especially brown rice, because you may wash a lot of the thiamin (vitamin B1) away.
Fat-soluble Vitamins A, E and D – Try not to cook these foods in too much butter, fat, or oil because you will end up losing much of the valuable fat-soluble vitamins into the cooking medium. Baking, steaming or broiling are better options when it comes to foods high in the fat soluble vitamins.
Some Additional tips for maintaining nutritional value include:
- Never overcook fresh foods; excess nutrient loss is in direct proportion to how much heat was applied during the cooking stage.
- Eat red meat medium rare and not fully cooked, studies conducted by The National Cancer Institute have revealed a 30 percent less cancer risk in those who ate medium rare beef over those who consumed well-done beef.
- Cooking time and applied heat account for the two biggest factors when it comes to nutrient loss.
- Use very little water when cooking, steaming and stir-frying foods. It is the water that leaches the valuable vitamins and minerals from your foods.
- Avoid deep-frying and frying if at all possible.
- Cook vegetables as soon as you can after cutting them to prevent oxidation and nutrient loss.
- Remember that the four biggest factors accounting for nutrient loss in your foods are air, fats used in cooking, water used in cooking and applied heat. The less you use of these four elements the better.