Did you know that the way you prepare and cook your vegetables can significantly affect the amount of nutrients in them? Read on to find out what you can do to get the most out of your vegetables.
Preparation of Vegetables
1. Refrain from peeling or trimming vegetables
Higher levels of nutrients are found on the outer leaves and beneath the skins of vegetables (in comparison to the inner portion). To maximise your nutrient intake, wash your vegetables prior to cooking, instead of peeling or trimming them.
2. Cut vegetables minimally and/or near eating time
The greater the surface area exposed to air, the faster the degradation of vitamins. To keep oxidation minimal, ensure that the cut vegetable pieces are as large as possible. Additionally, salad-lovers are recommended to cut the vegetables close to their consumption time. In this way, the oxygen exposure time will be reduced. Those who prepare the vegetables in advance should refrigerate them in moisture-proof, airtight containers.
1. Microwave or steam your vegetables instead of boiling them
Did you know that boiling can reduce more than half of the vitamin C content in spinach, broccoli and lettuce? Due to the water solubility and heat sensitivity, vitamin C leach into the water when vegetables are boiled.
Microwave or steam instead. These cooking methods retain more nutrients. Microwaving green vegetables decreases their vitamin C content by approximately 20 – 30%, which is lower than the majority of cooking methods.Steaming is one of the best way to cook vegetables as it only lowers the vitamin C content in spinach, broccoli and lettuce by 9-15%. You can add butter or some seasoning after steaming to enhance the taste of the vegetables.
2. If you need to boil your vegetables:
- Use minimal amount of water to decrease loss of water-soluble vitamins
- Add vegetables only after the water has boiled to shorten cooking time
- Consume the nutrient-laden cooking water
3. Avoid adding baking soda when you are cooking vegetables. Despite improving the green colour of vegetables, the resulting alkaline environment destroys vitamins like vitamin C and thiamine.