Nutritional properties of vegetables: the importance of the cooking method

by Shopify API on Jan 27, 2023

We know the need to incorporate vegetables into our daily diet , we even know how many vegetables we should eat: the food pyramid tells us that there should be more than 2 servings a day. We probably also know that it is important to vary the vegetables we consume to ensure we incorporate the different vitamins and minerals that the numerous varieties of vegetables provide us. A simple rule is to introduce vegetables of different colors into our menus and following the seasonality of each of them, so we are sure that we will be doing it correctly. What we may not know, or give much importance to, is the way we cook them. This is essential to take advantage of the maximum amount of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber that different vegetables can offer us.
There are many ways to cook, the most used in Mediterranean cuisine are the griddle, oven and cooking in water followed by the use of steam cooking and the microwave.
In all of them we will be losing some of the properties of the food, although it will not be the same for all of them and will even vary depending on the vegetable we cook.

To consider

Cooking methods that involve water are the ones that cause the most antioxidant losses. They also cause the loss of water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins, vitamin C) and minerals such as potassium, calcium or sodium. To reduce this loss we must use as little water as possible and reduce the cooking time as much as possible. Incorporate steam cooking as a substitute for water. Vegetables, in addition to not losing nutrients, will maintain their flavor better. The high temperature, used in any of the methods, will always cause a loss of antioxidants and a reduction in the vitamin content of our vegetables. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) tend to be lost when cooking with oil , therefore, use less oil (or heat) on those vegetables that contain them or make sure to also consume the oil. Another way to reduce this loss will be to cut food into large pieces, minimizing the surface area where nutrient loss can occur. The amount of nutrients lost during cooking will vary depending on the characteristics of the food. But a curiosity, do you know which is one of the vegetables that keeps its properties the most intact? It is the artichoke: it maintains its antioxidant capacity in the different cooking methods, as well as its contribution in vitamins (B1, B2, C and A) and minerals (potassium, phosphorus, calcium and sodium). Let's take this data into account, but above all let's enjoy our food and create tasty recipes with our vegetables.