How to keep more vitamins in cooked vegetables?
By Amina Nazarli
Do you know why you should be very careful while cooking vegetables? That's what I am going to explain in this story.
To obtain full benefits of fruits and vegetables, the first step is to wash them in a proper way. That will enable you to clean products from various chemicals that are often used in their cultivation to fight against various pests.
Imported fruits and vegetables need to be washed thoroughly with a brush to get rid of wax and paraffin, which the sellers use to keep them fresh for a long time.
The faster the process of washing, the more you save vitamins in foods.
However, this option is not appropriate for you particularly if you suffer from allergies. In this case it’s worth to soak fruits and vegetables in cold water for an hour.
Specialists say that fruits and vegetables are better to be eaten immediately after washing. The reason for such hurry is that during washing, the peel of fruits is damaged. Thus the fruit begins to deteriorate rapidly, losing its beneficial properties.
Have you washed them? Wonderful! This stage is completed!
Now the next step is cooking.
It's not a secret that the vegetables and fruits are sensitive to heat, and they lose a lot of nutrients while cooking. While boiling, many vitamins go into the water, especially vitamin C which is more sensitive not only to temperature but also to air (oxygen). In the first 15 minutes of cooking, about 30 percent of vitamin C disappears, while at 100 degrees C vitamins of B group are vanished completely.
Nevertheless, we often have to cook the vegetables for various dishes. We can’t eat, for example, aubergine, zucchini or pumpkin or many others without cooking them.
But, don’t worry. There are some secrets that chiefs recommend
us to preserve the usefulness of vegetables during cooking.
To prepare them properly, you need to know how to preserve more vitamins in vegetables. So your motto in the cooking process should be as follows: cook the vegetables - do not lose vitamins.
As I told before, oxygen is the main enemy of vitamins. That’s why we should eliminate it by cooking vegetables in a pan with a tight-fitting lid, which blocks access of air. More often lifting the lid will lead more and more portions of oxygen into the pan.
Many of you may poke vegetables with a knife to check whether they are ready. But never do it again, as it leaves the "wounds" in vegetables and all the vitamins wash out. Moreover, it is better to cook vegetables in whole, rather than slicing them. Otherwise, it increases the loss of vitamins.
Another method that will help you save a wealth of vitamins is laying vegetables into boiling water, as this reduces the cooking time and contributes to the preservation of vitamins.
But, there is also good news here. You do not always have to torture yourself with these procedures, trying not to miss a gram of vitamin of vegetables.
There are some vegetables which offer useful health benefits when they're cooked. Some of the vegetables contain more biologically valuable substances that are absorbed better when they are cooked.
For example such vegetables as carrots, green peas, celery, beet and even tomatoes could benefit from a little heat, as they do not lose, but, on the contrary multiplies their beneficial properties.
The main value of tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant lycopene content, which is released more and better absorbed when you cook them. Therefore, doctors advise to sprinkle with salt raw tomatoes, so the nutrients to be better absorbed.
Studies have shown that the level of highly digestible beta-carotene in carrot increases many times by boiling. When eating a carrot, we consume only about 5 percent of this substance, then after a short heat, this figure rises up to 60 percent.
Broccoli is the champion in terms of glucosinolates, which fight against the cancer cells. The content of this antioxidant is more in the steamed broccoli rather than in raw. In addition, it’s at 10-15 times more easily absorbed by the body.
The situation is slightly different with garlic. After heat, the amount of vitamin C decreases, but the content of allicin increases. The content prevents from the formation of blood clots and cholesterol plaques. So, choose the option which is better appropriate to your heath.
Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on
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