Cooking methods we use to maximize the nutritional value of your meal.
We all know that eating more vegetables is better all-around for preventing disease. Yet, we rarely hear about how certain cooking methods can result in a loss of the very vitamins and minerals that make vegetables good for us.
Depending on the vegetable at hand, the way you cook it can drastically change its nutritional value. Cooking vegetables the right way can also make minerals, vitamins and antioxidants more available to our body, while the wrong way can reduce its nutrient content.
Here are a few cooking methods Px Plate uses to maximize the nutritional value of your meal and offer only the best in nutritional potency, as opposed to other health food stores who might not have the right experts on hand.
Steam: Bright Green, Crunchy Florets.
When we think of broccoli or florets, boiling the vegetable usually comes to mind as a quick and healthy cooking method, and is how most healthy food stores cook florets. However, boiling florets like broccoli, reduces vitamin and mineral potency by 20% to 50% because they leak into the water and end up going down the drain.
Losing out on nutrients from broccoli also means losing out on the benefits it provides including nutrients that help:
- Prevent cancer
- Boost your immunity with vitamin C
- Help with arthritis
- Regulate blood pressure
- Reduce bad cholesterol
- Protects blood vessels from damaging
At Px Plate, we steam our broccoli as the heat of the steam gives vegetables the ability to retain valuable vitamins and minerals. This helps us reduce the loss of nutrients by half, keeping in mind that the goal of steaming is to cook the vegetables until they are no longer raw, but still bright and crisp to preserve colour, flavour, and nutrient content.
Sauté: Succulent Yellow Nuggets of Vitamin C
Capsicums offer a bright, sweet and textured taste to meals, while being low in calories and loaded with various vitamins and minerals – especially vitamin C.
However, vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat. This is why we lightly sauté capsicums until they’re tender, but still crisp will generally retain more of the nutrient than those that are cooked longer.
Adequate amounts of vitamin C is essential for the protection of blood vessels from the damage that free radicals can cause them. This has been shown to be a major cause of a heart disease.
We also make sure we sauté this succulent vegetable with a limited amount of oil, as vegetables with low water content such as mushrooms, onions, cabbage and of course capsicums, soak up a large amount of fat.
Stew: Sweet, Tangy Tomatoes
We’ve all been told that eating vegetables raw is better for you because they can be more nutritious than ones which have been exposed to heat.
But while this might be true of some produce, tomatoes are an interesting exception.
Cooked tomatoes are especially beneficial for preventing cancer and heart disease because once cooked, a rich source of the carotenoid antioxidants called lycopene become even more available to us.
Additionally, tomatoes contain a good dose of vitamin C, and the cooking process doesn’t destroy this important nutrient. This is important as vitamin C isn’t stored in the body, so you need a daily supply.
Also, while stewing usually takes up to hours, stewing tomatoes can be ready to eat in about 10 or 15 minutes.
Overall, this is why we chose to stew tomatoes in our dishes.
Other Ways We Maximize Nutrient Preservation
- Washing vegetables before we cut them instead of after
- Leaving the peel on
- Cutting them in large and uniformly-sized pieces
- Cooking them as soon as possible after we cut them
- After steaming vegetables, we serve them with a small amount of fat, to help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K from vegetables.
- We also add a small amount of citrus to vegetables that contain iron, such as broccoli, kale or spinach, to help your body absorb this iron.
About the Author
Food designer & Nutritionist