What You Need To Know About Common Cooking Methods For Veggies
Food is life. And if you’re anything like me, it’s a love affair as well. For me the best type of food is soul food. It is the food you enjoy making, and then savour every bite of it afterwards. When it comes to proper nutrition, vegetables are the soul food for your body.
I’m not saying that vegetables should be the only source of food intake, but veggies should be one of the most important parts of your meal. Find out what works best for you, which doesn’t necessarily has to be vegan, vegetarian or any other diet.
Vegetables are best when only slightly cooked so they keep their nutrients in the process. To cook or not to cook, that is the question.
Here are some pointers and tips when it comes to cooking vegetables for maximum nutrition:
1. RAW VS COOKED
Even though raw food is thought to keep nutrients longer in the food, a recent study by the University of Cambridge indicated that eating raw food is not necessarily better and more nutritive. In fact, it showed that subjects who ate only raw food had lower levels of the antioxidant lycopene, a phytochemical that can lower the risk of cancer and heart attacks.
Cooking food doesn’t only help for chewing and faster processing, it actually activates some antioxidants which cannot be found in raw form.
2. BOILING VEGGIES
Even though boiling veggies can destroy almost the majority of all nutrients, for some vegetables it’s the best cooking method. It destroys anti-nutrients & chemicals in, for example, broccoli and kale which can worsen thyroid disorders, which is why it is better when they are cooked in boiling water.
Also, boiling is found to influence the increase nutritive value of carrots, according to a 2008 study.
3. BLANCHING / QUICK BOILING
The process of blanching/quick boiling means putting the vegetables into boiling water but taking them out as soon as they change colour. The technique of quick boiling vegetables adds nutritional value, but almost always means you need to pan-fry them a bit as well since they might still be under-cooked in the center & lack some taste. Make sure to use an oil like coconut-oil so you only add good fats to your meal, and use a high-temperature pan to expose your veggies as short as possible to the heat.
4. SLOW COOKING
This is a very gentle method of cooking. Slow cooking might cause some nutrient loss, but certainly not as much as boiling them because of the lower temperature. You must have some patience though, since the process of slow cooking is quite extensive, if you have a slow-cooker at home you can easily leave it on while going to work in the morning, otherwise another method might be the better choice for you.
Another gentle method of cooking, steaming, is a favourite of low-fat food eaters because water isn’t lost during the process AND some nutrients are maximized as well.
For example, vitamin C in broccoli increases during the steaming process, but it needs to be fortified with good fatty acids (add some delicious fish!) if you want to have a really healthy meal.
And lastly, a method which isn’t really cooking, but does change vegetables’ properties in some way. Fermented vegetables are good because they contain probiotic bacteria which improve your intestinal flora, helping your entire digestive system.
However, mind yourself that if you are suffering from bacterial overgrowth, probiotics in your food might worsen the problem, in which case it might not be the right method for you.
Of course these are not the only cooking methods, but I hope to have given you some insight into the most common ones. How do you prepare your veggies? And do you have any additions to the cooking methods described in this article? Please your thoughts them in the comments below. We’d love to hear how you go!
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