Top 7 Tips To Retain Nutrients While Cooking
In Today’s race of healthy eating where everyone is talking about organic food, wax-coated fruits, GMO vegetables, farmer’s market bought vegetables; we have forgotten the most important aspect of cooking.The way we cook food! Organic or not, if you do not cook your food right, it will lead to loss of nutrients or produce undesirable compounds. Vitamins are of two types: Water-soluble and fat-soluble. Apart from these two characteristics, they are also heat-sensitive, light-sensitive and can easily be denatured on exposure to air.
Below are a few points to be kept in mind in order to retain the nutritive value of food:
Chop the vegetables into bigger pieces so that the exposure of the vitamins to water or air is less. For example, when carrots are cut crosswise, the loss of vitamins is greater than when they are cut lengthwise.
2. Cooking time/Water Quantity:
Reduce the cooking time by covering the vessel with a lid because as the duration of cooking increases, more and more of vitamins (specifically vitamin C, the B vitamins and folate) are leached into the water. Use the required quantity of water so that there is no extra water at all. Methods like steaming and pressure cooking require lesser time and lesser quantity of water. Also, avoid reheating cooked vegetables as it further destroys vitamins.
3. Peeling/Cutting Vegetables:
Vegetables should be washed with the skin. Always peel the skin of vegetables as thinly as possible. The nutrients are mainly concentrated just below the skin, so peeling before boiling increases the loss of Vitamin C, Folic Acid and other B complex vitamins. For example, the outer layer of carrot, radish, and ginger can be scraped instead of peeling. Peel only when absolutely necessary. Also, vegetables and fruits to be used for salads should be cut fresh just before serving and should be served in closed dishes to avoid exposure to air.
4. Consuming Cooked Eggs:
Do not eat raw eggs. Raw eggs contain ‘Avidin’ which binds to biotin, making the vitamin unavailable for absorption. Cooking eggs denatures Avidi, thereby, aiding in biotin absorption.
5. Re-use Whey Water: The whey water which remains on the preparation of paneer is highly nutritious and should be used in either making chapatis, preparing gravies or can be added to curd instead of water to make chaas.
6. Do Not Expose Milk To Light:
Do not store milk out in the open or exposed to light as it leads to considerable destruction of riboflavin.
7. Avoid Using Baking Soda:
Addition of baking soda while cooking may help retain the colour of vegetables as well as speed up the cooking process, but it destroys thiamine and vitamin C.
Following the above-mentioned tips would certainly retain the goodness and nutritive value of food that you cook. Happy cooking!
Fatema Valikarimwala is a Mumbai-based Clinical Nutritionist/Dietitian and Founder of Heal-Thy and a self-proclaimed foodie. She is also a Health Council Member at Healthhunt.