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Cooking methods and nutrient loss.

How nutrients are lost?

Nutrients are the vital components which will help your body to work properly. There are certain scenarios where the nutrients are lost through. These may includes the different types of cooking methods, processing methods and storing methods.

What are the modern cooking methods?

The methods of cooking includes steaming, microwaving, boiling, stir-frying, and stir-frying followed by boiling (stir-frying/boiling), deep frying, etc.

Are they safe? How are they affecting nutrient availability?

PROTEINS: All proteins present in the foods coagulate by the thermal effect of cooking. Cooking results in softening of proteins in foods like egg, fish and meat, in which they bound with water during the coagulation process. If they are cooked even more (dry cooking) by deep frying, barbecuing disturbs the chemical structure with the loss of moister and becomes harder for digestion.

VITAMIN B: Vitamin B mainly found in grains like rice is a water soluble vitamin. While boiling with more water will cause certain amount of Vitamin to get dissolved in it and lost through discarding. Cooking soda will also destroy Vitamin B.

VITAMIN C: Vitamin C is an important nutrient which is easily destroyed by cooking. This vitamin is lost in a smaller quantity when the fruits and vegetables are cut. Vitamin C is again lost when the fruits or vegetables are washed and exposed to air for a long period of time after cutting. As Vitamin C is again a water soluble vitamin, when the foods are cooked for a long time or the extra water thrown away smaller loss happens. Cooking soda also destroys vitamin C.

FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINS: Vitamin A, D, E, K are fat soluble vitamins. While frying in oil it comes out and mix with oil, thus the vitamin is lost from the food what we eat.

OILS: Cooking oil when heated in high temperature, or with multiple reusing converts health beneficial fatty acids to harmful fats.

Along with Nutrients, there is a big loss in the phytochemicals (eg:Sulforaphane (SFR)) which is present in plants that have many health benefits including anti-carcinogenic properties.

How can we prevent its loss?

  • Don't overcook the food items.

  • Go for moist cooking instead of dry cooking.

  • Avoid grilling/barbecuing meats.

  • Cook with low flame and avoid over heating.

  • Avoid multiple usage of oils.

  • Eat fresh fruits. Avoid its exposure to air and light for long.

  • Avoid repeated heating and boiling of cooked foods.

  • Use steaming/ microwaving methods for possible food items, in a low temperature for a short period of time.

Choose wisely, be healthy.

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